Meditation Monday – Breathe in Welcome

by Christine Sine
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by Christine Sine

My word for the third week of Advent is Welcomed. As I thought about that over the weekend I was reminded of the fact that God breathed on us, we welcomed the breath into our bodies and became living beings. In light of that I thought that I would share a breathing exercise that I wrote especially for the Advent season.

Breath Exercise

(Inspired by Scott Erickson author of Honest Advent). 

Paying attention to our breathing is at the heart of any kind of centering prayer or mindfulness practice and it is a good place to start each morning as we move closer to Christmas and need a time to pause and relax as we start the day. 

Throughout the scriptures there are many places that people meet the living God – burning bushes, on top of mountains, in a wrestling match but probably the most unexpected and inspiring form is through breathing. The Hebrew word for breath is ruach, the same word as for the Holy Spirt. And as we breathe in and out, it is as though we breathe in the life giving energy of the Holy Spirit, and then as we breathe out, we breathe out that energy and share it with the world.

Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph felt as they held the baby Jesus and listened to his breathing – inhale, exhale, the breath of God in a tiny baby, the breath of the Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary and enabled her to conceive. But that breath, ruach, the Holy Spirit is not just in this baby, but in all the babies born to our world, in fact in all of us and in all the creatures of God’s good creation. The breath of the Holy Spirit giving life. Inhale, exhale, imagine the wonder of it.  

Maybe the place we experience the wonder of Advent most fully, is when we stop and listen to our own breathing. Lets do that for a couple of minutes. 

Sit quietly in the presence of the living God. 
Relax your body, release the tension in your jaw and your shoulders. 
Close your eyes and slowly breathe, imagining that you are breathing in not just air, but the energy of the Holy Spirit.

In through your nose,
Out through your mouth.

Imagine how Mary and Joseph felt as they held the baby Jesus 
and listened to his breathing.

Imagine that you too hold the baby Jesus in your hands. Inhale, the breath of God, ruach, in a tiny baby. Exhale, the breath of Jesus going out into the world. The life of heaven and renewal of earth, the hope of all people, held in each breath we take, each breath we share, from the moment of birth.

Breath draws us into the one family with the Christ child, one community with all the people of the earth, our breath mingling as we quietly inhale and exhale together. 

Now imagine Jesus as we think of him today. Sit conscious of the comforting embrace of our beloved Saviour,
Jesus Christ redeemer, but also friend, companion, brother, 
Circling you, walking with your as you journey along the way.

Breathe deeply
In through your nose,
Out through your mouth
Sit in awareness of God’s Holy Spirit filling you,
Counsellor, guide, fount of all wisdom, 
Ruach, living breath,

Love always with us
When we feel alone,
Light always filling us.
When darkness threatens to overwhelm.
Joy and awe bursting forth
When we catch glimpses of beauty
Beyond our comprehension.

Slowly breathe 
Inhale, exhale, 
Sit still in the enfolding presence of God, 
Almighty and Holy One,
Knowing the embrace of the Eternal One is with you
Every step of your journey.  

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