New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.


Today’s Reflection

Welcome to Light from Afar: An Advent Devotional from Around the World. As those magi from long ago followed a light in the sky to guide them on their pilgrimage to find the Holy Child, so we, as followers of Christ, are making this pilgrimage once again, with light-bearers from four different countries as our guides. . . .

This Advent pilgrimage will take us on a journey through four countries: Brazil, the Philippines, Ukraine, and South Africa. Four thoughtful Christian guides help us to reflect on Advent and Christmas in their countries by bringing wisdom, courage, and colorful anecdotes to each scripture selection:

Cláudio Carvalhaes, a native Brazilian theologian, brings light from Brazil and from his childhood growing up in the global South.

Joel Bengbeng is a district superintendent of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines who brings a challenging, prophetic approach to the Advent scriptures, using examples from his country’s history.

Nadiyka Gerbish is a Ukrainian writer and podcaster. Her reflections are ripped from the headlines of the war in Ukraine, giving rare glimpses of what life as a faithful Christian in wartime Advent looks like.

Sidwell Mokgothu is a bishop in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and brings the full weight of South African history and culture to bear on his interpretation and reflections on Advent scripture.

—Introduction to Light from Afar: An Advent Devotional from Around the World (Upper Room Books, 2023)

Today’s Question

What benefits might you gain from looking at Advent from a cultural perspective that is different from your own? Join the conversation.

Today’s Scripture

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star in the east and have come to pay him homage.”
—Matthew 2:1-2 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

O God, thank you for the light from afar that came into our world when your Son, Jesus Christ, was born. Be with us as we await the birth of the Christ child in our hearts once again. Give us patience in the waiting. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.

Something More

The new year is just around the corner. Don’t forget to order your copy of Disciplines 2024! Challenge yourself to a deeper relationship with Christ with this year-long, lectionary-based devotional. Learn more here.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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


  • Rusty Posted November 27, 2023 7:58 am

    I think my view is that there are ALWAYS benefits that are drawn from learning about other cultures and seeking discernment from God as to what we can apply in our own lives. All people are God’s image bearers and he loves all people. Advent is a perfect time to contemplate how Jesus’s return will bring about the setting right of all things. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. His resurrection (and ours and the world’s) offers hope for every (and by that Revelation 21 means *every*) tear to be wiped away. Thank you Lord for this hope and glory.

  • Julie Posted November 27, 2023 9:54 am

    First, I enjoy reading the UR Daily Devotional and one reason is that it includes devotionals from people all over the world. But more importantly, let’s not forget that the Bible itself is from a different cultural perspective. Yes, from a diferent time in history but also written by those from the Middle East and what is today Africa and Europe. So our very foundation is not American. We live in a faith that is foreign born. We should welcome those of all nations and their perspectives. The UR Daily Devtional reading today included God’s admonition that he looks not at the outside appearance of a person but the inside thoughts and beliefs. We should emulate this attitude.

  • Jill Posted November 27, 2023 5:13 pm

    Varying perspectives, whether they be cultural, spiritual, social, or whatever other words I can’t come up with right now – aid us if we allow them to shape (re-shape) our boundaries. When we come willing to listen, open to learning something new about others, as well as ourselves – barriers potentially break down. We can all gain from this.
    Hard to believe that in a few days it will be December. The weather has turned very cold here, blustery. There was snow while I walked this morning. Ran some errands, helped my friend, did PT. Was out in the cold pretty much all day. Finished at a furniture store with my sister, where I splurged and bought a sofa. It will likely be 2 months until I get it.
    Will get to bed early this evening, get a jump start on the week.

  • robert moeller Posted November 29, 2023 4:39 am

    My experiences in Europe and Asia, my wife, and church experience in a Korean UMC all make me welcome perspectives from other cultures. I agree with Julie’s comment about the Bible. Yes, it too is from a foreign land..
    Still catching up after a very long day on Saturday. Thank You , Lord.

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