Our seasons of Advent and Christmas give us a wonderful feast of prayers and music, which feed us at a difficult time.
Rather than add something else to our rich diet, I would like to invite you to a slimming diet! When you have a favourite hymn, reading or prayer before you, which is the single word in it that stands out for you? This is not to ignore the context or strain the imagination. It is to celebrate a quick response to a generous gift. When you have your word (I might be generous and allow you two), give it freedom; let it suggest, prompt, lead. Remember it in the course of the day. Pray with it. Sing it aloud within your own four walls! Enjoy it. If this feels very strange, remember that God’s first language is silence and that he creates with very few words. (Which is why names are so powerful). And by choosing and living our word(s) we allow God to write his scriptures on our hearts.
In case your mind goes an instant blank, as mine often does when presented with an unfamiliar task, I offer a favourite prayer from one of our Sundays after Trinity (the 6th) for practice:
Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding: pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all we can desire….
Which single word (or possibly two) is meant for you, where you are and at this precise time?