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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Arise! Shine! Your light has come; the Lord’s glory has shone upon you. Though darkness covers the earth and gloom the nations, the Lord will shine upon you; God’s glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to your dawning radiance.

Isaiah 60:1-3

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Walking around in the dark is no fun. You can stub your toe, step on the cat, or be scared by someone jumping out to startle you.

Sometimes the darkness never seems to leave. When nothing is going your way. When you can’t remember any times of joy that we focused on yesterday. When other kids are bullying you. When you can’t stop taking drugs even though you want to. When no one seems to care. When suicide seems the only way out.

Isaiah tells us no matter how dark your whole world looks, a light will come. No matter how gloomy, there is still hope. God’s glory will still appear over you.

If you don’t see any light shining into the darkness, reach out to a Christian friend or mentor who can help point you to glimpses of hope. Talk to someone who will rekindle the flame in you. If you have friends who seem hopeless, love them. Then they will never doubt that God’s glory will come again.

Chip Hardwick

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Dear God, sometimes it seems like the joy will never come. Sometimes it seems that there’s no hope of anything ever turning around. Sometimes I feel so lost it makes me feel like ending it all. And sometimes even though I feel fine, I see people around me who need the light shone in their darkness. I need you to shine on my friends and me. I need you to wipe away the gloom. Thank you for loving me and giving me hope, even when it seems impossible that things will get better. In Christ’s name, amen.

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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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