Advent Daily Devotional

Advent Daily Devotional: BIRTHDAY of CHRIST: Day 28-Sat, Dec 25-Christmas Day

… It was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them. — Isaiah 63:9

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. — James 1:17

The Lord is God, and he has given us light. — Psalm 118:27


Light the final, fifth candle. Doing so, welcome Emmanuel—God with Us— into the world and into your life.

            Godself is the holy source of love and light. Yet each person bears that light on behalf of the One who lived among humans, died as a human, and returned beyond death itself to meet you where you are on your own journey. Across centuries, your spiritual ancestors have taught that your hands and feet, your heart and mind, your acts and words embody and reflect the life of Christ.

            In this imperfect, impermanent way, you carry holy light within you. Perhaps, by itself, your light is small in scale. Yet it changes the darkness and creates a point of focus and transformation. Then your singular light connects with others, multiplying its energy and effect.           

            The final candle you light on Christmas Day is an echo of the first and eternal light from which all other lights take their meaning and power. Thus God’s gift of love, reborn into the world, renewed in your heart, reawakened in your community, changes the world one light and one life at a time: beginning with you. Let it burn! — Rev Gail


Agape doesn’t love somebody because they’re worthy.
Agape makes them worthy by the strength and power of its love.
Agape doesn’t love somebody because they’re beautiful.
Agape loves in such a way that it makes them beautiful.
Rob Bell

… the light is all. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of LOVE: Day 27-Fri, Dec 24-Christmas Eve

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Psalm 86:5

Bless the Lord, light and darkness; sing praise to him
and highly exalt him forever. — Prayer of Azariah 1:48


On the eve of holy love’s renewed arrival in the world, you prepare yourself. How do you get ready to welcome love at the door of your heart? Will you answer when it knocks on the threshold of your life? Will you hold up your own light in greeting? Or withdraw and wait for the One at the door to pass you by, hiding your light?

How could you possibly prepare for such an experience as holy agape love’s renewed arrival in the world and in your life? Perhaps simply by listening. Waiting. And setting aside any sense that you can do enough, or be enough, to earn such love and grace. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to pass a test or prove yourself.

 Ideally, you have chosen an ethical path, because you a follower of agape love’s Way. Optimally, you have lived out what you believe. And yet … humans always fall short. Can you ever deserve holy love’s presence? Not really. It’s a gift.

Part of the gift of grace is that holy love simply shows up. Even when it’s not reasonable. Not rational. Even when you cannot possibly deserve it or earn it.

Yet a gift is meaningless unless the one to whom it is offered says yes to receiving it. Will you say yes?

Amazingly, wonderfully, holy agape love chooses you, simply because you are a beloved child of God. This holy love accepts you and embraces you, just as you are. At the same time, this love believes in all you might yet become.

Are you ready? Probably not. Yet love is coming anyway. — Rev Gail


Love is friendship that has caught fire.
It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence,
sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times.
It settles for less than perfection and
makes allowances for human weaknesses.— Ann Landers

At times our own light goes out and
is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude
of those who have lighted the flame within us.
— Albert Schweitzer

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of LOVE: Day 26-Thurs, Dec 23

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. — Psalm 85:10

… and you shall come here, and I will light in your heart the lamp of understanding. — 2 Esdras 14:25


As you kindle the four primary candles that dance a circle around the final unlit candle—the long-awaited Christ candle—you are creating a network of light. You are preparing the way for the coming of ultimate light.

Agape, mentioned at the beginning of this week, is a holy love to which humans aspire, but which humans cannot actually attain.  Its nature is so inclusive and comprehensive, so absolutely gracious and abundantly overflowing, humans as individuals and even as communities seek to model that ideal. Yet over and over, humans also miss the mark.

Should you be discouraged because agape is a form of love you might admire, and yet not be able to fully reach, to holistically practice? Alone or in community?

What Jesus’ lesson of the Beatitudes taught his followers was that while you cannot touch Godself, or fully love Godself, you can choose to love what God loves. And God loves all people and all of creation.

Thus, to strive toward agape, you are invited to have compassion for and connection with the recipients of holy love: humanity, all living beings and elements of creation, as well as the fullness of creation itself. If such an aspiration overwhelms you, then take it step by step. Choose one cause or corner of creation, one stranger or one neighbor, one part of your local community, where you can act on the principles of love for others and creation, as a reflection of your love for Godself.

One light at a time, the world is changed. One life at a time, love moves through the world.


The best love is the kind that awakens the soul;
that makes us reach for more,
that plants the fire in our hearts
and brings peace to our minds.
— Nicholas Sparks

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path
without brightening our own. – Ben Sweetland

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of LOVE: Day 25-Wed, Dec 22

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. — Psalm 69:13

… for you are all children of light and children of the day. — 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5


One of the Advent candles is especially short, as it has burned longest: hope. Peace and joy stagger upward in height, next to the tallest and youngest flame: love.

            As you draw closer to the celebration of holy love’s arrival within your life, as it will be observed on Christmas Day, reflect on how your experience of love has already shaped you. Who in your early life offered models of love? What forms did that love take?

Often you see holiness—God—through the lens of the primary relationships from your childhood. This developmental concept of holy authority and presence doesn’t imply there’s a correct or wrong way to relate to God; it simply acknowledges that your lived experience informs the way you connect to God.

Is your relationship with holy love one that is intimate or distant? Is Godself, to you, a faraway deity who observes, but doesn’t get involved? Or is your connection to God one of friendship and immediacy? Do you find God in nature or through action and volunteering? Is God an abstraction or a vivid, tangible presence?

How is love expressed in your life? What face does it wear? What language does it use to reach you? How does it illuminate your life?

Love’s flame flickers along with the others. Let it dance within you, revealing what is holy within you, as it illuminates what is sacred in other people, too. — Rev Gail


Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence. Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you … Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted. — Richard Rohr

Nothing can dim the light that shines from within. — Maya Angelou

Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of LOVE: Day 24-Tue, Dec 21

‘… you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. — Mark 12:30-31

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. — John 1:5


The flame of a candle is modest and manageable by comparison to the burning tempest of a forest fire or the impossible mass and gravity of the sun. You kindle four small flames that, if supervised, provide light and warmth. They do not, unless neglected, threaten destruction. Rather they add comfort, brightness, and ambience: they change the environment in meaningful, positive ways.  

            Love also has other expressions. It can involve partners with whom you achieve eros: passionate love. Over time, it is also found as a more mature love that endures through long-term relationships, and is called pragma.

            As one commentator explained, “Unlike the other types of love, pragma is the result of effort on both sides. It’s the love between people who’ve learned to make compromises, have demonstrated patience and tolerance to make the relationship work.” These forms of love, both the passionate and spicy eros and the seasoned and abiding pragma, hold significance in the spectrum of human experiences of love, all of which echo the greatest love: agape.

            Is the light kindled within you this Advent season new and passionate or mature and familiar? — Rev Gail


We are shaped and fashioned by those we love. — Goethe

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home. – Rumi

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