At Christmas time there is just so much to do. Have you done your Christmas shopping yet? Were any of you brave enough to venture into Westquay on black Friday? Hanging around in the shopping precinct doesn’t take long to pick up the panicky vibe. Ringing in our ears is, noise, hurry, and of course those busy crowds.

Many of the great spiritual mystic writers agree that hurry chokes a contemplative spirituality. Woah….wait a minute…. let me just say that again…. ‘hurry’ can thwart our attempts at being closer to Jesus.  That’s kind of a big deal.

Here at Ascension we love a good party, and enjoying the Christmas cheer is right up our street, but we want to learn from the greats, and if the greats say that hurry is toxic to a walk with Jesus, we want to do something about it. So this season we’re having a look at the spiritual disciplines. We’re exploring some of the tools that facilitate a life lived closer to Jesus. We are trying to ‘live the Jesus way.’

This week we are having a go at MEDITATION.

Foster claims that meditation is being ready to go into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation.  Meditation can be used to listen to God’s word, reflect on God’s works, think on God’s deeds, and understand more fully who God is and who we are. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea, and sitting for 10 minutes, and allowing space for God to speak. Try one or two of these meditations this week.

Meditation one: Make yourself your favourite hot beverage. Find a space in your house that is warm and comfortable. Set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes. Clear any possible distractions e.g. the cat coming in, and sit in silence. Ask God to draw near to you, and just be. As you feel your mind beginning to wander onto other things draw it back to a time of prayer. Use short phrases such as ‘Jesus Christ lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world ’or ‘I thank you Jesus for this day’ to focus your mind. Be open to the work of God upon you in this short time. Don’t worry if you don’t feel effective. Try doing this a few times in the week.

Meditation two: Scripture is a helpful tool to meditate with. I like using the Psalms. Turn your bible to the psalms, read through a couple until you find one that you like. When you have selected one particular psalm for this meditation you are ready to begin. (I like psalm 139). Say a short prayer and ask God to be close to you. Read the psalm through slowly. When you have finished reading it pause, reflect, leave space. Read the psalm again. When you have finished, pause reflect.

Meditation three: Do this one if you are particularly busy and haven’t got any free time to set aside for meditation. Find a time in the day when you are achieving a relatively normal activity, such as queing at a till, walking the children to school, making dinner, having your office lunch break. In a slot in your day that would normally be something mundane, become aware of your surroundings. Ask God to be present. Become aware of your breathing, consciously slow it down. Ask God to inhabit your day.

Read more of our advent meditations