• Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,239 other followers

  • An Advent & Christmas Daily Devotional

  • Now Available!

  • Now Available

  • Now Available

  • Facebook

Advent and Christmas: A Contemplative Devotional by Peter Traben Haas


Amid all the fullness and festivity of this peak cultural and religious holiday season, I invite you to take a brief moment each day to rest and read through these brief daily reflections. I wrote the reflections when I lived in the rolling farmland of Iowa. I wrote them for my own journey through Advent, and also shared them with various members and friends at Westminster Presbyterian Church in the Cedar Valley, where I served as a pastor.

I now send these reflections out more widely in book form with the hope that something of my Advent journey might also be helpful to you, perhaps even connecting the inner story of Christmas in a deeper way this year for your continued flourishing in Christ. The book is available on Amazon.com or you may order one at your local bookstore.

The theme of this Advent journey is My Yes Is Yours. I chose that title, in part, because I was inspired by Mary’s response to the Angel’s visitation (Luke 1.38). There, the Angel invited Mary (and through her, us) to a deeper experience of God as a literal vessel for the birthing of Christ into the world. Her response, now so famous, was something like, “Yes, let it me in me as you say.”

On a deeper level, even Mary’s Yes was grounded in God’s grace, drawing her into the energy of acceptance versus resistance. Like Mary, without this grace acting in our lives, none of our Yes’s would endure or come to their fruition. In this way, our Yes’s are really God’s.  Not only are they inspired by God’s grace, they are also offered to God.

Thus, we can authentically say in the depth of prayerful intercession or silent contemplation, “My God, My God, My Yes is Yours.” Truly, giving our Yes to God is just another way of summing up the heart of the Christian pattern of life revealed by Jesus near the end of his beautiful yet brief life: not my will, but thy will be done.

Yes. Three letters. One little word with infinite potential.

Read the reflections.

Ponder and pray about the ideas.

Perhaps share them with others.

Open each day’s reflection as a personal gift. Throughout a lifetime, our journey into God is a journey into Yes – learning and cultivating a disposition of feeling a Yes to life. Paradoxically, we may often discover the personal power of Yes as we feel into the powerlessness of all the times we have encountered No’s. While Advent is a season for Yes, it’s not always easy. There are many No’s that we confront each day.

No to God.

No to health.

No to love.

No to life.

No to others.

No to healing.

No to abundance.

No to giving.

It seems in our world we are surrounded by and perhaps even shaped by many No’s. That is all the more reason to anticipate and welcome the quickening light that awakens sleepers from the state of resistance so energized around the word “No.” Advent is a season to recognize that for every No we have received in life, we may also declare and participate in that No’s transformation into a Yes – for our ultimate good and ongoing growth. And so we declare:

Yes to God.

Yes to being you.

Yes to others, especially those we live and work with.

Yes to the past, present and future.

Yes to flourishing.

Yes to surrender.

Yes to hope.

Yes to faith.

Yes to love.

Yes to giving.

Yes to receiving.

Yes even to our life difficulties.

Yes – whether simply, quietly or loudly – just yes.

Learning how to say Yes to whatever is occurring in our life without needing to change or resist anything is the art of grace – a grace that also teaches us the skills of hope, faith and love; skills, along with grace, that we will need; skills we will also acquire more completely as we journey through the fullness of gifts this Advent season holds in store for us.

Only Love. Only Christ.

Peter Traben Haas

© 2016 . All Rights Reserved.

A Resource of  ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Thursday, December 24, 2015 – Christmas Eve

“When King David was settled in his palace, and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”  – 1 Samuel 7. 1-5

Friends in the Silence,

On this sacred Eve, may you feel the Presence of Divine Grace as a response to your searching heart.

Perhaps with King David, there will be a moment after all the preparation, after all the shopping, travel and readying, where you can take a moment to rest. To be still. And in that moment Remember the Divine Presence.

Together, we are the Temple.

Merry Christmas.

© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, December 23, 2015

“Thus says the Lord GOD: I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me…” – Malachi 3.1

John the Baptist represents the first stage of our spiritual development: the foundational level of the Written Word of God. It’s summation as the Law of God teaches us to listen for God’s wisdom and instruction and invites us to obey and thus flourish (Psalm 1). John represents this first step of spiritual growth, which is a kind of faith toward the Written Word of God, a phase many new converts experience as one of zealousness and literalism: for example Saul’s zealousness for the Law of God which led him to justify killing some who disagreed with him (Acts 7).

Like Saul who became Paul, the foundational level is not our destination though. It is our foundation, from which we grow and develop. And that next level of development is what Jesus represents: the Living Word of God embodied. Christ is our destination. The Written Word of God is moving into the Living Word of God as you and as me and as all who consent, with Mary, to be ongoing locations for the Word’s Incarnation.

In this way, Jesus shows us the Way. Whereas Jesus the Christ was this Living Word of God in his Essence, we partake in and through faith with that Essence by means of the Energies of God through the Spirit, receiving a share of the Living Word into our lives, and because of the Nature of the Living Word of God, it can’t help but to transform, heal and yes, save us – in the literal sense: making us whole and completing us.

The preparation that occurs is interior. We are to let the Written Word of God dwell abundantly in us, so that our minds are renewed to the point that we are “born again” as sons and daughters of God, co-heirs with and by the Living Word of God, which is Christ, the Union of the Divine and Human.

Yes, the Union was established in Jesus the Christ. But it may continue in you and me. Jesus and Christmas are not just for the historical celebration remembering what has been; a shrine or museum just for Mary, Jospeph and Jesus. They are historical pointers to what also might be in the future: to what the Divine Love is wishing for humankind, which seems to be the consummation of Life into Love. Such a process takes time. Thankfully, God’s patience is time-less. God’s plan is developmental, one stage unfolding to the next, like petals opening on a beautiful Rose.

Thus, be brief in wandering beyond prudence and long in enduring time’s abuses. The Law and The Gospel are wed in John and Jesus for our birth as New Ark’s of the Covenant; Temples of the Spirit; continuing incarnations; a living community of Christmases. This Miracle must be prepared for. Wait. Consent to the Presence underneath the Written Word. Listen for the Hidden Word beyond the page – the first Word of God is Silent Love.


© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Tuesday, December 22, 2015

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior for God has looked upon me, a lowly servant.” – Luke 1.46

Long bewitch the skin of man, to touch the Art of Angels.

Thankfully, their Light-Art touches us. Descends to us. Visits us. We can rest from our striking and striving: Give up. Fall down. Cry for help. Be silent in surrender.

And these days of darkness and light remind us of the central miracle of Light taking on skin. And not just a human appearance – rather, the completeness of human nature.

Here is what is Good about the Good News: A union of the Fully Divine with the Fully Human has occurred in human history through the Being Jesus, for our healing. As we partake in the Union, we become participants of the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1.4), rightly bearing the names, co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8.17).


© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Monday, December 21st, 2015 – The Winter Solstice

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” – Luke 1. 42

Today, the 21st of December, is the Winter Solstice. Solstice comes from the Latin sol stetit, which literally means “sun stood still.” For six days in the northern hemisphere the sun seems to cease its southerly journey on the horizon and appears to  rise and set in the same spot. From sacred sites such as Stonehenge, England and Tulum, Mexico, we know our ancient human forebears watched this event, perhaps wondering if the light would return? If the sun would begin to move again? If warmth would return and bring back life?

Due to a calander mix up, the ancient Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice on December 25th. As the Roman Empire assimilated Christianity, the Roman church adapted such pre-existing “pagan” festivals of light for their own liturgical, Christian purposes: thus the Christmas festival of the birth of Christ, light of the world and Son of God on December 25th. The days surrounding the Winter Solstice were already symbolic for the people: the day the sun seems to be born from its sleep, and begin its journey, rising again higher on the horizon till its zenith on June 21st, the Summer Solstice.

The symbolism of the earth and heavens does not lessen the meaning of the Christ-event. It illustrates it. It demonstrates in an embodied way what the spiritual dimension is revealing: As above, so below.  Mary, represents the New Eve, the New-Earth – the womb of life, birthing forth the fruit of her consent, which is the Son of God, Light of the World. Similarly, the Earth births forth the Winter Sun, rising again from the Earth-Womb to a new season of life.

These are days for the silence to speak to us in the stillness of the earth. These are days to be at rest – if not externally, then certainly, to the extent possible, at least within our own heart. Become a continuation of the drama: consent, so to be a participant in the light of Spirit birthing in and through and for human beings; transforming us and our planet into love – which is the warm-heart of the reign of God.



*The solstice graphic is from Sue Gaviller at  www.NotAnotherGardeningBlog.com 

© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Friday, December 18, 2015

A Christmas Prayer-Poem

 by Peter Traben Haas

“The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  – Matthew 1.20 – 23

You shook the seeds of love and

thunder sounded through the house,

a gentle cadence underlying the tempest

of things turned over in the darkness

toward the cooing light.

I’m not afraid of who you are, or who I am not.

Anymore, the simple way is the progression of joy into songs that hang ripe

as winter berries on the vine of wisdom;

once just seeds cast from words spoken

long ago into the silence before all Spirit’s thundering…

A lightening-love struck my darkness, turning empty, full.

© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

The Contemplative Companion for Thursday, December 17, 2015

“May his name be forever; as long as the sun, may his name endure. May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name; may all the nations regard him as favored. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 72. 17 – 18

The Psalms are poetry but also prayers. They are mysteries of the prophetic heart.The Psalms point us both inward and into a future time with praise and longing.

A line from William Blake’s poem Jerusalem speaks to me: “poetry fettered fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry.” I like that sentiment, and perhaps Blake’s creative insight is all the more profound if we replace the word “poetry” with the word “prayer.” 

A prayer-poem from Sufi poet Kabir reveals this inward connection for us in our experience in the silence and stillness of prayer: “There the bee of the heart stays deep inside the flower, and cares for nothing else.”

A week from today is Christmas Eve. May this final week of Advent absorb you into its Presence, a poetic opportunity to be undone by the nectar darkness so to be born into the honey Light. We can do that in practical ways, at the end of the day, as we sit in silence and stillness, prayerfully watching the fading light. For example, Pastor Roger Teel in his deeply helpful book This Life Is Joy  invites us at the end of each day to reflect upon four things. I have adapted them for today’s reflection:

The state of your wounds, and this world’s brokenness.

Your desire to be lifted up so to be made more whole, and your willingness to be brought low in service to Love.

Your thoughts about yourself and others; the negative and the positive.

Your cries for love.


I close with a final adaption of Blake’s wisdom: love fettered fetters the human race. People are destroyed or flourish in proportion to whom  and how deeply we love, accessed through the heart prayer of silent surrender.

© 2015  The Contemplative Companion

A Resource of ContemplativeChristians.com

%d bloggers like this: