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All rulers bow before you, and gold and incense bring. All nations shall adore you; your praise all people sing!

from “All Hail to God’s Anointed,” James Montgomery, 1821

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Listen

Lift up your eyes and look all around: they are all gathered; they have come to you. Your sons will come from far away, and your daughters on caregivers’ hips. Then you will see and be radiant; your heart will tremble and open wide, because the sea’s abundance will be turned over to you; the nations’ wealth will come to you. Countless camels will cover your land, young camels from Midian and Ephah. They will all come from Sheba, carrying gold and incense, proclaiming the Lord’s praises.

Isaiah 60:4-6

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Think

Whenever we read a scripture, we tend to think it’s talking directly to us. “You are the light of the world,” means the reader (you) is indeed the light of the world. But in today’s scripture, let’s think about the “you” differently. Instead of thinking that “you” means you, let’s make “you” be your parents or the people who care for you.

With this change, through Isaiah, God is telling your parents (who in this passage are going through a hard time) to look around, because their children (you!) will come to them. When you get there, their hearts will burst open.

In our passage, the children bring camels, gold, and incense to show their love. You’re probably short on camels, but you can give whatever you have to make them feel loved. Maybe it’s a resolution in 2017 to do something tangible for them five times a week. Or to put others before yourself, even at home. How can you love your parents when they pass through a difficult time?

Chip Hardwick

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Pray

Come Holy Spirit and help me to love my parents, especially when they are going through a tough time. Equip me to be a child that you use to help my parents’ hearts to tremble and open wide. Use my gifts to bring them joy. In Christ’s name, amen.

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Go

We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light. Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright. Oh, shine all around us by day and by night. Jesus, the light of the world!

from “Jesus, the Light of the World,” George D. Elderkin, 1890

Chip Hardwick

Chip Hardwick is a pastor serving as the Director of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (USA). He follows the star in Louisville, Kentucky, with his cat Ahoy.

Advent Waiting: Away in a Manger - O Come All Ye Faithful

David Burroughs

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