Lectio Divina Advent Journal

Can you believe we are already seeing the sign-up promos and reflection books for Advent!?! The years continue to fly by and I guess this year is no different. I’ll be honest, I’m already starting to get excited about the new planners that are going to be out soon. =) As Advent is fast approaching, I began thinking and praying about whether or not to host a series of Advent reflections as I have the past 2 years. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the web is now inundated with these reflections. There are so many, you could probably spend all day just reading reflections and still not get through them all.

The more I prayed, the more I found myself to feel inspired in a new direction. My prayer was informed by two things.

First, the highly anticipated Every Sacred Sunday Mass Journal. In case you missed it, here is my promo post from a few months ago. I am thrilled it is almost November and I will soon have this journal in my hands.

Second, I have been mulling over the Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII. This is a set of 10 short prayers or commitments that Pope John XXIII prayed each day. I intend to delve into each one of these in greater detail, possibly even one post for each one. We’ll see. For now, the fifth is the pertinent goal:

Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

So, where was I being called? On one hand, I have this awesome new journal resource that really helps me to focus in on the Mass and Scripture. On the other, I have a challenge to 10 minutes of “good reading.” As the kids would say, “Their powers combined created!” A brand new Bible Journal! I’ve never done anything like this before, but it was so much fun! What I have created is a Bible journal that incorporates Lectio Divina, the practice of slowly reading a short passage or verse and meditating on it. Lectio Divina is one of the oldest prayer forms we have — learn more here.

What’s in this journal, you might ask? Let’s find out!

 

  • A reference guide for what Lectio Divina is.
  • How to use the journal
  • One journal page for each day of Advent, including the regular Mass on Dec. 24 as well as the Christmas Eve Mass, and Christmas Day.
    • Each page contains:
      • Date
      • Space for intentions, how your day is going, what are your thoughts before beginning your Lectio
      • Scripture
      • Space to write your Word
      • Ample space for reflecting and praying your response to your Word
      • (My favorite) space to action plan for how to take your reflections into the rest of your day and through the season of Advent.
  • A Scripture verse or passage for each day of Advent, prayerfully chosen from the liturgical readings of the day.
  • An additional blank journaling page that you may print as many times as you want. This way you can choose your own passages for Advent or continue the practice after Advent is over.

Even more exciting than all of that is that I give this as my gift to you this Advent Season. This journal is completely and totally free. It is yours to download as many times as you want, to print as many times as you desire. Pick one, pick both. Print 10 and share them with friends or your small group. The sky’s the limit! Maybe you and your spouse are looking for a way to connect in a meaningful way this Advent season. Maybe you are looking for a way to incorporate Scripture into your daily routine or with your kids over the dinner table. There are so many opportunities awaiting you.

Below are a few more images to let you get a feel for the two styles. One style is a bit more curly and doodly while the other is less frilly, more straight lines. The content is exactly the same in both journals.

All you have to do is click on the link beneath the picture of the journal you want below to choose your pdf file. Save it to your computer and print the whole thing, print one page, take your pick.

And in all honesty everyone, I would love feedback on these. The good, the not so good and the what on earth does that mean?. If this is something you love and you found useful, I would love to share that joy. If you liked the idea but it just didn’t work for you this time, tell me why. How can I make this better or different? If, and I’m crossing my fingers here, if this seems to work I am seriously considering making a Lenten Journal as well and who knows, maybe even expand the idea further as we go along.

This is what I felt called to make this year for Advent and I hope and pray that it brings you peace, solace and above all, helps you prepare your heart for the coming of our Savior. Because, dear friends, that is what the whole point is.

cover 2
Style 1

Advent Lectio Divina Journal 1

cover 1
Style 2

Advent Lectio Divina Journal 2

Review: Scripture Stackers

There is something wonderful about the ability to build, to create. Day after day I listen my children craft wondrous stories, tales of adventure and rescue, of Batman, the Joker and Rapunzel all rolled into one. They create castles, tunnels, airports and now, even the Nativity scene! Our family was so blessed by the generous people at Our Picnic Tree with a set of Scripture Stackers.

Scripture Stackers are a work of genius. In their words:

Scripture Stackers are building block sets (compatible with all major brands, by the way) that bring your favorite Scripture Heroes and stories to life! Engage, play and teach your family about their lives, their triumphs and their faith! Our Premier Collection includes assorted Mini-Figures from the Bible & a 140 Piece Nativity Set!

These stackers are great! The kids jumped on them as soon as they came out of the box. The stackers are the same size and scale to Legos, of which we have many. Though the individual mini-figures (like Moses and the burning bush, King Solomon and his throne, Noah and his sheep etc.) do not come with specific directions, there are only a few pieces for each figure and their completed pictures are on the bags they come in. It was a nice challenge for John. He saw the finished product and had to figure out how to build it with the pieces available to him. The Nativity scene, which is much larger, has step-by-step instructions.

It has been fun to have the kids recreate the Bible stories of the figures, and even expand upon them. Since Goliath is on his own, frequently Joseph is standing in for David when they tell the story. Then, Goliath serves as Potiphar and Pharaoh when they tell Joseph’s story. All the animals from the Nativity always end up surrounding Noah and King Solomon is typically found at the foot of the manger.

With Advent fast approaching (yikes!) what better way to celebrate the season but with a new Nativity scene that the kids can build, customize and and create. The Nativity scene is constructed in 23 steps, plus constructing the people. You could build the Nativity one day at a time starting Dec. 1 so that come Christmas everything is ready for Jesus!

As I said, Betsy and Melissa at Our Picnic Tree are so generous with their Scripture Stackers. They have even provided a coupon code just for my blog readers.

Be sure to use FAITH25 when you checkout to receive a 25% discount on your whole order!

We love our set. Here are some pictures of the kids when we first got them.

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December 25, 2016 – Merry Christmas

For unto us a child is born,
Unto us a Son is given…
And His name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace (excerpt from Handel’s Messiah)

Every year in high school (except maybe 1 I think, I blame pregnancy brain for my failing memory) the choir sang Handel’s Messiah. Anyway, these lyrics are some of my top favorite Christmas lyrics and tune. It’s happy, bouncy, almost bell-like and so full of promise.

Jesus’ birth brings forth a new dawn for humanity. He truly is Wonderful, our Counsellor, the Mighty God and the Prince of Peace. The sin of Adam and Eve brought sin, death, anxiety, worry and darkness. One of the curses placed upon Eve specifically is that children are now brought into the world through pain. Through this pain Jesus enters the world.

People approach the holidays, especially Christmas, with a variety of attitudes and memories. For some, Christmas is a time of joy, family, good food and fun memories. For others, perhaps Christmas brings sad memories, painful relationships, and loneliness.

Jesus’ birth is a beautiful juxtaposition of these wide variety of feelings. While the angels are singing “Gloria” and filling the skies with what would be the definition of joyful noise, Mary was experiencing the most explosive pain she had ever felt.

I believe this speaks to God’s love and generosity. God doesn’t swoop in a way that is beyond our comprehension, then give us a bunch of teachings that are challenging to understand and accept, then ultimately save us in a manner that is again, beyond our comprehension. Yes, the Incarnation is most definitely beyond our grasp. However, the pain of childbirth, the joy of seeing your newborn child for the first time, the pride in showing him off to visitors – these are relatable moments. I think this is what is so appealing about Christmas. Even though most of us can’t relate to giving birth in a stable or cave, there isn’t much that could be more fundamentally human than bringing new life into the world.

And now to quote myself (I hope everyone is ok with that), I would like to leave you with the last paragraphs from one of the last prayer experiences….

God continues in His generosity and overabundance. Jesus didn’t simply save the nations from the slavery of sin and death. He also gifted us with His very Body and Blood so that we might continue to be united in communion with Him and one another. He went even further than that. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus promised that His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, would come down upon the apostles and remain with them.

God-with-us isn’t just a historical event. Emmanuel isn’t only in the manger.

Jesus, Emmanuel, is the here and now. Even as we celebrate Jesus’ birth today, do not be fooled into thinking that He isn’t born anew each time you invite Him into your heart.

*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook pageDaily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com