« Back to main blog page

Advent Meditation: Monday, December 16, 2019

By Dr. Maria Spellings

Psalm 41, 44, 52  •  Zechariah 1:7-17  •  Matthew 24:15-31

My favorite memories are connected to the winter season. With the first cold snap, I get excited about baking my favorite goodies, building a good fire, and hosting holiday parties. My chest fills with excitement and anticipation for the magic and mystery of the season.

The joy of the season is often harshly juxtaposed within the sacred walls of my counseling office. As the holidays approach, clients often recount memories that are filled with loneliness, pain, fear, and anger: the death of a loved one, the grief of childhood abuse, the ache of disconnection from family members. Together, we hold the painful memories with compassion, teaching both of us about the power of our ritual of connection, the weekly anticipation of healing, and the mystery of God at work.

In today’s reading, the Psalmists recount both their despair and grief and their steadfast hope in God’s redemption and rescue. The verses from Zechariah tell of the compassion and comfort of God. The ritual of advent opens us up to our future hope and at the same time ushers us into the present moment where both joy and grief exist. In opening space for our pain and loss to coexist at this time of celebration, God greets us with the mystery of solace and magic of comfort.

God, draw us into the healing work you are doing now, both in our lives and in the world. Amen.

Dr. Maria Spellings
Assistant Professor of Counselor Education
Seminary of the Southwest

Dr. Maria Spellings is a licensed professional counselor supervisor (LPC-S) in Texas. After completing her master’s degree at Dallas Theological Seminary, she gained significant clinical experience in a local inpatient psychiatric unit working with complex PTSD and trauma-related disorders. She went on to complete her PhD at the University of North Texas, where she received advanced training in play therapy, attachment, and filial therapy. She came to Southwest from a position as full-time senior lecturer in the UNT Counseling Program, where she taught didactic courses and provided clinical supervision for master’s counseling students in multiple stages of clinical development.

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.


Advent Meditations and Prayers 2014
advent meditations and prayers 2015
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2016
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2017
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2018
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2019
Al Rodriguez
Anthony Baker
Awa Jangha
Christian formation
Claire Colombo
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
Dave Scheider
Friday Fun Photo
Gena Minnix
Greg Garrett
Haiti Project
Holy Land
Jane Patterson
John Hines Day
Kathleen Russell
Kellaura Johnson
Micah Jackson
Nathan Jennings
presiding bishop
Scott Bader-Saye
Seminary of the Southwest Dean and President
social justice
Southwest Six
Staying Cool in Austin
Steve Bishop
Steven Bishop
Steven Tomlinson
Tweet of the Day
Twelve Days of Christmas