≡ Menu

Respond to the Light

Today’s Reflection

THE ADVENT journey reminds us that we cannot take the light for granted. Christ is near, and God partners with us, makes covenant with us, and asks us to respond to the light that has come into the world. We may not have to move far, but God does ask us to move, to be bold enough to step out on faith and seek the light.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

How is God asking you to respond to the light?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“The people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

—Matthew 4:16 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 8 comments }

God’s Light

Today’s Reflection

CONSIDER THE ways in which you have experienced God’s light during this season. Where have you experienced elation when you were tired, discouraged, or worn out? How have others lifted you toward the light of God? What signs have marked your journey, reassuring you that you are on God’s path?

Each day, take another step into the light. Christ has already prepared the way.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

Spend some time reflecting on the questions above.  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
—John 1:4-5 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 10 comments }

Expecting

Today’s Reflection

DURING THE prelude to Christmas, trees often take a prominent place in many homes. Serving as a symbol of life, faith, and salvation, trees are focal points for our Christmas celebrations and anticipations. Like the prophet Jeremiah, we are expecting our salvation to come quickly. We are expecting a light in the darkness, and we continue to hold out hope for peace.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What do you anticipate God will do this Advent?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.’”

—Jeremiah 33:14-15 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 11 comments }

God’s Faithfulness

Today’s Reflection

THE INTERPLAY of light and darkness is one of the central themes of Advent, and in times of despair and depression, light can be a most welcome presence. Likewise, just as sunlight is dependable and consistent (the sun always rises!), people of faith regard the light as a sign of God’s faithfulness and mercy.

Every day is a gift. We do not create the world or make the sun rise or bring rain upon the earth. These are God’s mercies offered to us new each day.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What serves as a sign for you of God’s faithfulness and mercy?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

—Lamentations 3:22-23 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 8 comments }

A Season of Hope

Today’s Reflection

[ADVENT] is a season of hope and hopefulness. God loves the world that God has created and has sent salvation. Even in the midst of dire circumstances, we can look out and watch expectantly for the new thing that God will do.

Live in anticipation today. Keep watch. Wait. Hope. For the Lord is with us!

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

Regardless of your circumstances, can you choose to be hopeful about the new things God might do?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”
—Micah 7:7 (NIV)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 18 comments }

Good Gifts

Today’s Reflection

THE GREATEST signs of God’s presence are, indeed, noted whenever and wherever we encounter joy and abundance. If our energies are running low, God can be our strength. If we feel we have run out of time, we dare not forget that God is the giver of all good gifts—even life itself. And if we don’t feel like celebrating, God gives us the finest gifts anyway.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What gifts have you received from God?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.”
—James 1:17 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 7 comments }

Our Greatest Comfort

Today’s Reflection

THIS DARK SEASON of Advent presents us with many challenges. Some of these challenges include fear, loneliness, isolation, or thoughts that remind us of past losses and difficulties. Advent can also magnify these experiences when others are being swept up in the joy and festivities of the season. Lively songs may awaken grief. Sounds and smells may bring back memories of special times that also awaken feelings of loss or loneliness. Our greatest comfort during these difficult times may be in knowing that God understands.

—Todd Outcalt, Blue Christmas: Devotions of Light in a Season of Darkness (Upper Room Books, 2018)

Today’s Question

What helps you remember that God understands whatever you’re feeling in this season?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God.”
—2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

God of Light, be my hope in this season. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites you to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year. “We all need this time of Advent to slow us down, to open our ears to God’s quiet voice, to guide us through the chaos of the consumerist culture that Christmas has become.” Join us for Child of the Light, an eCourse experience from The Upper Room.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 7 comments }

Priorities

Today’s Reflection

AS WE STAY focused on our priorities—loving God and loving others—we will cultivate our capacities and abilities to carry out God’s work in the world. As we spend time in prayer, seeking God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, and deliberately cultivate compassion for others and the courage to take action and serve, we’ll discover both the strength and the joy to be exactly who we were created to be.

—Rebecca Dwight Bruff, Loving the World with God: Fourth Day Living (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

When has participating in God’s work in the world helped you discover who you were created to be?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
—Matthew 6:33 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.

Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Looking for creative ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving? Click here to discover ideas for showing gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 4 comments }

Comfort Zone

Today’s Reflection

EACH TIME we step out of our comfort zones and into the messy and sacred world of caring about others, we risk stepping in the confusion of humanity. We may find ourselves asking questions about God and about this world filled with both beauty and affliction. When we share our journeys and questions with one another, our capacities to love and serve with humility, faithfulness, gratitude, and grace grow.

—Rebecca Dwight Bruff, Loving the World with God: Fourth Day Living (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

How can you step out into the messy and sacred world of caring about others today?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.”
—Hebrews 10:24-25 (CEB)

Prayer for the Week

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Looking for creative ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving? Click here to discover ideas for showing gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 3 comments }

Extraordinary Grace

Today’s Reflection

GOD’S GRACE flows both ways, doesn’t it? Just when we think we’re extending it to someone, we discover that it’s coming right back at us multiplied, amplified, and revealing more and more about ourselves, other people, and about what God is doing in the world. God reveals extraordinary grace and goodness in and through our relationships.

—Rebecca Dwight Bruff, Loving the World with God: Fourth Day Living (Upper Room Books, 2014)

Today’s Question

When have you been surprised to find God’s grace flowing both ways?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”
—2 Peter 1:2 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

Looking for creative ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving? Click here to discover ideas for showing gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 7 comments }