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Advent Meditation: Friday, December 13, 2019

By Hope Benko


Psalm 31, 35  •  Haggai 1:1-15  •  Matthew 23:27-39

It’s not much of a Merry Christmas that comes in today’s Matthew reading.  “Woe to you, you snakes, you brood of vipers.”  It comes as a stark reminder that even as we are preparing to celebrate the wonder of the incarnation in a tiny baby born so long ago, we must also and always be preparing to welcome Jesus at his return in power and great majesty.  The call, then, is to remember to prepare our hearts and minds this Advent season, not just our homes and calendars.  Jesus warns us not to be a “whitewashed tomb,” where all looks beautiful from the outside and inside is full of decay and rot.  We are invited this season and at all times to fill our hearts and minds with the grace and love of Christ so that we might recognize him when he returns to make his kingdom known.  We do this in quiet personal prayer, in worship with other Christians, and in reading and reflecting on the scriptures.  While these are often the practices of a holy Lent, they must also be a part of our Advent preparations if we are to fully enter into the mystery of the incarnation and find our Lord born anew in our hearts this year.God, help us clean the insides of our cups and lead as those guided by You and not by the things of this world.

Help us, Jesus, to meet you as you are revealed in quiet and in scripture as we approach the mystery of your incarnation.

The Rev. Hope Benko
Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Hope read her meditation and prayer:


The Rev. Hope Benko  is Director of Enrollment Management and Admissions for Seminary of the Southwest.  In this role, she also administers several student services including financial aid, both internal grants and federal student loans, on-campus housing, and the seminary’s on-campus (work study) employment program.  Hope was ordained in the Diocese of Missouri in 2006. Before coming to Southwest, she served in parishes in the dioceses of Missouri and Western Louisiana and as a school chaplain in the Diocese of Fort Worth. A lifelong Episcopalian, she relishes building relationships throughout the wider church to welcome new students to our community.  She is a graduate of Stephens College and of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. Hope is married to the The Rev. Dr. Andrew Benko and together they are have two children and a labradoodle.


The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


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