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Presbyterians Today’s Advent devotional extended through Christmastide

Online devotional encourages you to be the light

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson, Presbyterians Today editor | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterians Today’s 2020 Advent and Christmas Devotional is now available online. It comes loaded with thoughtful music, a film clip of a burning candle and interactive social media options.

LOUISVILLE — In his poem “I Will Light Candles This Christmas,” Howard Thurman talks about illuminating the world with more than just wax-dipped wicks flickering with yellow flames. Rather, the light the theologian and civil rights leader envisions burning brightly is the light of Christ shining through us — the light that dashes away sadness with joy, replaces fear with courage and banishes despair with hope.

This year has been one in need of light. It has been shrouded in the darkness of racial and political unrest, with a cloud of pandemic uncertainties hovering low. It has been an unprecedented year that has pushed, dragged, nudged and kicked us into speaking boldly and truthfully. It has dared us to step away from the comfort of doing things in the same old way and to try something new in our ministries.

Presbyterians Today’s Advent devotional for 2020 is no exception. This year’s devotional will be featured online only and is available by clicking here. Churches are encouraged to share with their congregations by clicking any of the social media share buttons featured on the page at the start of each week in Advent. There is also a PDF option offered by clicking the “print” icon and then selecting “PDF.”

The theme will be that of lighting those candles in Thurman’s poem, challenging us to shine not only through the four weeks of Advent, but through the 12 days of Christmas and ending with the celebration of Epiphany. Each week starts with a stanza from Thurman’s poem and reflection questions. A video of Advent candles being lit with meditative music playing in the background starts the week, encouraging readers to listen and contemplate the topic that will be explored. The following days feature a Scripture verse, reflection, closing prayer and an option to go deeper with suggestions for further activities.

The online seasonal devotional is also interactive, inviting readers to submit their pictures of the candles being lit in their communities — be it real candles or “candles” of love shown in the way of helping others or working for justice. These pictures will be posted on Presbyterians Today’s social media sites. Submit pictures to Make sure to include your name, church and a brief description of the picture. The goal is by Epiphany, social media will be flooded with Presbyterians shining their lights.

The first and second week of Advent are currently available online. Visit to learn more.

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