Advent Week 3: Cultivating Awe & Reflective Journaling Exercises

“Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, ‘Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.’” Luke 2:13-14

The GREAT MESSAGE of hope to the world was announced one night over the starry mountain landscape to a group of sleepy, terrified shepherds. Unlikely? Or perhaps this is the very place where God’s presence is the most evident.  Doesn’t God’s glory often show up for us in the quiet, unsuspecting moments we find now and again?

Imagine the stillness of the night around the shepherds – the stars on full display, the mountains outlined in the moonlight, the faint tinkling of the sheep’s bells – it was normal, and holy already. And then, that quiet, normal nightfall, where the shepherd watched his flock, angels showed themselves and proclaimed something wonderful, something that was changing the world. 


Since most of us don’t get quite the same starry night announcement in our routine work day, we might have to work a bit harder to pay attention. Learning to slow down and look for God’s holiness, presence, and goodness in our ordinary days takes practice – even if we’ve made vocational ministry our daily work! There’s too many things to do, too many distractions, and frankly, we’re just not well trained to pay close attention.

This week, we’re offering some simple daily journal prompts to help sense the HOLY spaces already in your life. May these prompts foster some healing introspection in your own life and ministry as you reflect on the awe and gratitude the shepherds must have felt that night.


This exercise combines some elements of the ancient Christian practices of daily examen and lectio divina. Each evening this week, you’ll read the same passage from Luke 2 and then spend time in prayer and reflection. You’ll focus on a different aspect of the story each time, listening for how the Spirit might be opening your eyes to a fresh insight. As with all reflective exercises, these are most effective if practiced in a quiet space, free from other distractions. Consider lighting a candle, grabbing some tea and giving yourself time to invest in this practice for a few minutes each day this week.

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