Advent is a time of reflection, and one of the best ways to reflect is journaling. Paying attention to what has been, what is, and what we hope will be in the future — just as Mary pondered the mystery of what God was doing in her life, we ponder the same. It may not feel as dramatic as Mary’s experience, but it is still very important.
Journaling to connect with God has a long history with Christians. Much of what we know about early American Protestantism comes from journals kept by faithful people. One of the freeing things about journaling is that you can write whatever you want to write. There are no rules!
Journaling is for anyone who wants to try it. You do not have to be a good writer. This isn’t for publication or even posterity (unless you want it to be). This is for spiritual practice.
- Decide how you want to keep this journal. You may purchase a blank book or use loose-leaf paper held in a ringed notebook.
- Think about what you would enjoy putting in your journal. You may want to record insights from other prayer practices or write your prayers in the journal or both. Some people even keep notes from their dreams in their journal. It’s a book that belongs to you and God. Do with it what feels best.
- Begin by asking God for awareness of God’s presence in this journal-keeping exercise.
- To explore spiritual growth based on events in your life, write about:
- A significant event or happening in your daily life.
- How do you feel about that event?
- Where was God at work in the event?
- Where is God leading me now as a result of this event?
- How do my feelings change as I view the event in the light of God’s love?
- To notice how God is active in your life:
- Review your journal at regular intervals.
- What patterns or common themes do you notice?
- How does God get your attention?
- How has God answered your prayers?
- Assess how your relationship with God is emerging.
- Make notes about any common themes or patterns.
- Close each journaling session with a prayer of gratitude.