Prayer websites Sacred Space and Pray as you go have teamed up to offer an Advent Retreat entitled ‘Messengers of Joy’, available on both websites from 30 November. The retreat is an invitation to reflect on some of the ‘good news’ moments in the Christmas story, using Isaiah and the Gospel of Luke. It includes an Introduction, a Session for each week, and a Conclusion.
The Introduction encourages us to wait in hope with all God’s people for the coming of Christ. We do so in the company of Isaiah, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and the shepherds. Through hearing their stories afresh, we experience what it is to be a ‘messenger of joy’ in this season of Advent.
In Session One, we join the prophets in their daydreaming and talking about the coming of the Messiah. “Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem,” says Isaiah. In Session Two, we see how the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, announcing that many would rejoice at the birth of the one who would prepare the way for the Lord. John the Baptist would later proclaim the Saviour and prepare His way by ‘turning people to God’.
Session Three reflects on the visit of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. We look to the Gospel of Luke: “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb.” Their shared prayer encouraged them both to believe that all that was promised would be fulfilled. In Session Four, the retreat reflects on the appearance of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds. In turn, they marvelled at the love God showed for them through the birth and life of Jesus. Christmas is first and foremost Christ’s visit to us. His intimate presence is our first Christmas present.
Upon waiting in anticipation for the coming of Christ, the Conclusion offers us another of the many important messages peppered throughout this collaboration. Follow ‘Messengers of Joy’ Advent Retreat on the home pages of Sacred Space in text and audio format and Pray as you go in audio format.