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)
What benefits might you gain from looking at Advent from a cultural perspective that is different from your own? Join the conversation.
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.
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.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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