On each seventh day during Advent we invite you to take a Sabbath day and learn more about a spiritual discipline.
From Simply Wait: "Vigil, at its most basic, means an act of wakefulness or watching. In the context of prayer, vigil is most often associated with an extended, intentional time of prayer, often at night or before a holy day or occasion."
Vigils are not a common practice in our particular denomination but staying awake in watchful anticipation has long been a practice of the faith. Some vigils are communal where a whole community will gather early before dawn to "keep watch" with God for a time of prayer and meditation. Some vigils are personal like a mother who stays up all night praying for her children's well-being.
Advent is a season of long vigil as we wait in anticipation for Christ. By practicing an intentional vigil during this time we may find new and deeper understanding of God. Spending a night in prayer with God while waiting for the night to end and turn to morning, can help us to more fully live into the promise of Advent when the darkness of our brokenness is transformed by the Light of the World. Vigils require waiting in the dark, fully awake, fully present, and fully prayerful.
If you chose to practice a vigil spend time thinking about what it is you hope to learn or find in your time with God. Chose scripture that you may want to read during this time, gather prayers that may be helpful to you during the night, and make sure to bring a journal. Personally, I like to take colored pencils and blank paper so that I can draw during this time. I'm not trying to create art but I often find that when I occupy my hands I am able to better listen to what God is saying to my heart. Be patient with yourself and take comfort in the quiet calm and dark that surrounds you as you wait on God.
By creating this space for God and spending intentional time in dark, watchful, and hopeful anticipation you may find new meaning, peace, and joy in the season of Advent.
~written by youth ministry team member
*This devotional was inspired by and written using Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. The Clarity Youth Ministry is grateful to have this incredible resource and encourage you to buy your own copy of the book to further your Advent study, which you can do by clicking here.