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What we all long for, from the deepest, most sincere part of our being is a deepening of our relationship with God. There is no shortcut.

Advent is a good time to try practising the discipleship cycle: Listening to what God is saying, looking for where God is working, living out where God is calling, learning what God is embedding. This model provides a helpful framework, which helps us identify something of how we are engaging with Him. Does this look like the habits of your spiritual life?

Practicing for Christmas is a series of reflections for Advent, specifically designed to help anyone reflect on their practices, or lack of, by drawing on the experiences of the characters in the well-known stories surrounding the birth of Jesus.

Each day you’ll get a few verses from the Christmas story, and a reflection by one of our contributors. Please remember that dwelling in  God’s word is the most important part of this process.

 

Each reflection will be available here from Friday 1st until Monday 25th December 2017. Sign up to receive them straight to your email inbox every day at 7am.

Practising Receiving

Practising Receiving

Luke 2: 15-24 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was...

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Practising Waiting

Practising Waiting

Luke 2: 25-38 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s...

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Practising Faithfulness

Practising Faithfulness

Luke 2: 15-24 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was...

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Practising Intentionality

Practising Intentionality

Matthew 2: 1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod...

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Practising Worship

Practising Worship

Luke 2: 8-20 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a...

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Practising Just Doing It

Practising Just Doing It

Luke 2: 9-20 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a...

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Practising Faith…before the event

Practising Faith…before the event

Luke 1: 46-56 Mary’s Song And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me...

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Practising Willingness

Practising Willingness

Luke 2: 1-7 The Birth of Jesus In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So...

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Practising Looking

Practising Looking

Luke 2: 8-20 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be...

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Practising Re-alignment

Practising Re-alignment

Matthew 2: 1-12 The Magi Visit the Messiah After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to...

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Practising Humility

Practising Humility

Luke 1: 46-56 Mary’s Song And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me...

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Practising Obedience – Part 2

Practising Obedience – Part 2

Luke 1: 26-38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said,...

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Practising Obedience

Practising Obedience

Matthew 1:18-25 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet...

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Practising Navigating Turbulence

Practising Navigating Turbulence

Luke 1: 26-45 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said,...

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Practising Contentment

Practising Contentment

Luke 1: 26-38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said,...

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Practising Going

Practising Going

Matthew 2: 1-12 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod...

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Practising Listening

Practising Listening

Matthew 1:18-25 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet...

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Practising Walking Straight

Practising Walking Straight

Matthew 3:1-12 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way...

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Practising Vulnerability

Practising Vulnerability

Micah 5:1-14 Marshal your troops now, city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruleron the cheek with a rod. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be...

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Practising Righteousness

Practising Righteousness

Luke 1: 6-7 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Elizabeth and Zechariah were both good people,...

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Practising Service

Practising Service

Luke 1: 5-22 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands...

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Practising Patient Persistence

Practising Patient Persistence

Luke 2: 25-38 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s...

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Practising Stopping

Practising Stopping

Luke 2: 36-38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night...

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Practising Availability

Practising Availability

Luke 1: 26-28 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said,...

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Practising Hope

Isaiah 9: 2-7 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice...

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Practising Hope

Isaiah 9: 2-7 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice...

read more

Practising for Christmas 2017 test

What is the best gift you will receive today? In many ways someone reading this in war-torn Syria is more likely to quickly identify the answer the whole of Advent prepares us for, than those of us about to disappear underneath a sea of wrapping paper and material gifts. Today is Christmas Day.

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