Welcome to Presbyterians Today’s Advent and Christmas devotional, “Let Us Light Candles: Matthew 25 and the work of Advent.” This extended online devotional — taking us not just through Advent but through Christmastide and ending with Epiphany, Jan. 6 — brings to you the inspiring words in Howard Thurman’s poem “I Will Light Candles This Christmas.”
Thurman, a Baptist pastor, theologian and civil rights activist, was born in 1899. The grandson of a former slave, Thurman was named by Life magazine in 1953 as one of the 12 greatest preachers in the country. The pastor not only co-founded San Francisco’s Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in 1944 — the first interfaith and intercultural congregation in the United States — but he also mentored a young Martin Luther King Jr., who received his Ph.D. in 1955 at Boston University, where Thurman was serving as the first Black dean of Marsh Chapel. Thurman’s most well-known book, “Jesus and the Disinherited,” published in 1949, illustrates the pastor’s theology. In it he expounds on Jesus’ example of unconditional love and illustrates how that love not only helps the disinherited endure oppression, it also changes the heart of oppressors.
Nowhere better can Thurman’s belief in such a redemptive, transformative love be seen than in his writings about the light that came into the world at Christmastime.
You can go to each of the sections of the Advent Devotional through these links. The Devotional is online, including a video with background music for your devotional time if you wish. You can also download a PDF for each of the weeks.
The 1st Week of Advent – Candles of joy despite all the sadness.
The 2nd Week of Advent – Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
The 3rd Week of Advent – Candles of courage for fears ever present.
The 4th Week of Advent – Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.
Christmas Eve – Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.
The 12 Days of Christmas – Candles of love to inspire all my living,
with Epiphany – Candles that will burn all year long. posted soon