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Advent Hope

Today’s Reflection

WHAT WE CELEBRATE during Advent and Christmas is the completely new way God comes to us in Jesus Christ. We also celebrate the new persons we are becoming because God sent Jesus, God’s own beloved Son, to the world God loved so much. …

Our Advent celebrations are based on our hope that God will bring a new heaven and a new earth in which all creatures have everything they need for life and live together in harmony with one another.

– Blair Gilmer Meeks
Expecting the Unexpected

From pages 16-17 of Expecting the Unexpected: An Advent Devotional Guide by Blair Gilmer Meeks. Copyright © 2006 by Blair Gilmer Meeks. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What do you hope for during Advent? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

James 5:7, NRSV

This Week: pray for medical professionals. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Carry a Little Quiet

Today’s Reflection

CARRY A LITTLE QUIET inside you
while the world continues
in rush and rage
fighting and frenzy.

Carry a little quiet inside you
so that the worry and war
trouble and tumult
do not capture you in their grip.

Tarry in the Son-filled meadow of the heart
beside the still waters
where God’s Spirit refreshes and renews.

Carry so much quiet inside you
that you have some extra calm
to share with me.
—Safiyah Fosua

– Safiyah Fosua
The Africana Worship Book: Year A

From page 37 of The Africana Worship Book: Year A, edited by Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua. Copyright © 2006 by Discipleship Resources. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

How can you include times of quiet throughout your day? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146:10, NRSV

This Week: pray for medical professionals. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Prayers for Those Who Morn

Today’s Reflection

GOD OF LOVE, many are lonely and grieving during this Advent season. Send your healing Spirit to all who mourn, that they may know your comforting presence with them. Amen.

– Beth A. Richardson
Child of the Light

From page 59 of Child of the Light: Walking through Advent and Christmas by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2005 by Beth A. Richardson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Psalm 146:9, NRSV

This Week: pray for medical professionals. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 15 comments }

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Today’s Reflection

HOW DO WE WAIT FAITHFULLY for God in the wilderness? The prophet Isaiah says, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.”

We pave a straight path for God through acts of kindness, justice, generosity, and compassion. When we love, God will come. “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me,” John says.

As sure as a baby’s birth in a manger, a God will walk the path laid out. Love will encompass our world.

Baby of the manger, may each act of kindness be a straw in your crib, preparing the way for your coming. Amen.

– Frank Rogers Jr.
Disciplines 2017

From the reading for December 10 by Frank Rogers Jr., page 408 in The Upper Room Disciplines 2017: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2017 Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.

Isaiah 35:8, NRSV

This Week: pray for medical professionals. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Incarnation

Today’s Reflection

IN THE SEASON OF ADVENT we are asked to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ, for this manifestation of God in human form. What Christmas proclaims to us is that God was willing to close the gap between divinity and humanity by entering into the human experience, becoming one of us, knowing hunger and thirst, friendship and betrayal, hope and loss, and the agony of death. It’s a lot to take in, the implications of God incarnate. And because we can’t take it in all at once, by participating in the seasons of the church year we have the opportunity to take up the idea again and again as the season rolls around to Advent.

We imagine the birth of Jesus, the smells and sounds of the stable, the brightness of the star, the vulnerability of the baby, and the wonder of the shepherds. The temptation is to stop there and move on, to turn the Nativity into a sentimental tableau that has little meaning for the rest of our lives.

But if we study this idea of incarnation – of Jesus being fully human and fully divine – we must consider that this event comes about because God is trying to tell us something, show us something about God’s nature and our nature, about divinity and humanity and the intersection of those two realms.

– Melissa Tidwell
Embodied Light

From page 11 of Embodied Light: Advent Reflections on the Incarnation by Melissa Tidwell. Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Tidwell. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What does the word “incarnation” mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.

Isaiah 35:3, NRSV

This Week: pray for medical professionals. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Ambrose (December 7).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 7 comments }

Expectancy

Today’s Reflection

O EXPECTANCY,
born of fertile wonder,
belabored by narrowed hope;
craning curious lives forward,
drawing in the lonely and longing.
You are imagination’s sister
and the brother of holy surprise.Come, startle awake
our dozing apathy, our complacent dreams,
that we may behold your borning Advent cry.
Amen.
–Prayer by Pam Hawkins, Behold!: Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Behold!

From page 25 of Behold!: Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent. Copyright © 2011 by Pamela C. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. …”

Matthew 3:11, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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The Peace of God

Today’s Reflection

IN GOD’S PEACE, power and vulnerability lie together. This peace does not ignore conflict or difference; rather, in this peace the vulnerability in power and the power of vulnerability become companions. Neither threatens the other; instead, the friendship of power and vulnerability transforms expected hostilities into deep, deep peace. When we read these ancient words, we can feel it: This peace is what God means for our lives.

Spirit of the Lord, disciple us in the ways that lead to your holy mountain. We pray now for our enemies, whom we name in our hearts. We pray for ourselves, that we may transform our hostilities and fears into an openness to your possibilities. Where there seems to be no way, help us find the way. Amen.

-Pamela D. Couture
Disciplines

From a devotion by Pamela D. Couture in The Upper Room Disciplines 2007: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2008 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 3:1-2, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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Anticipation

Today’s Reflection

DO OUR ADVENT LIVES stand up against the ways of the world? Are we already so consumed with Christmas, even now in the first week of Advent, that we neglect taking time to live fully into the meaning and experience of the coming of Christ?

It is not yet Christmas but Advent. This is a season in which we have time to anticipate the full story and meaning of Immanuel – God-with-Us – if we will take that time and use it well.

Take a walk through your home, room by room, and say an Advent blessing in each space, something simple like “O come, O come, Immanuel” or “Come, Lord Jesus.” Take your time, imagining how you will live in this time and place over the next few weeks in ways that could help you not hurry to Christmas.

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Simply Wait

From page 29 of Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2007 by Pamela C. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Engage in the prayer exercise described above. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

…and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Romans 15:12, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 9 comments }

Advent Prayer

Today’s Reflection

Advent Prayer of Intercession

I WANT TO BE AT PEACE, O God,
protector of the frightened,
refuge for the wandering.

I want to speak for peace, O Christ,
hope whispered to the bruised,
wecome sung to the embattled.

I want to live in peace, O Spirit,
forgiveness in my heart,
kindness in my hands;
trusting, trustworthy;
loving, beloved.

I want to be at peace, O God
with you,
with me,
with others.
This is my Advent prayer. Amen.

– Pamela C. Hawkins
Prepare the Way

From page 24 of Prepare the Way: Cultivating a Heart for God in Advent by Pamela C. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 by Pamela C. Hawkins. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 6 comments }

Grant Us Wisdom

Today’s Reflection

GRANT US WISDOM and courage this week:
to be open to your surprises, O God;
to taste and see your presence in new ways;
to trust that you will do good and joyful things in our lives
and in the world.

– Jan Johnson
Taste and See

From page 19 of Taste and See: Experiencing the Stories of Advent and Christmas by Jan Johnson. Copyright © 2014 by Jan Johnson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Pray today’s prayer. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.

Psalm 72:18, NRSV

This Week: pray for people who feel lonely. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Sister Dorothy Kazel (December 2).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2016 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 10 comments }