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At Advent, we turn our hearts and minds towards the light that broke into the world's darkness. The light that has changed everything. We are invited to encounter that light and then asked to be that light ourselves, in a world that so desperately needs it.

Written by Fred and Caroline Drummond with support from Alliance member organisation Mission Aviation Fellowship, these short, daily reflections will help you to fix your eyes on Jesus and ponder how you can bring light into dark places. 

Celebrating the light

In 2013, MAF delivered a special Christmas package in the form of SD Cards for mobile phones to the indigenous people in Arnhem Land, home of the Aboriginal territories. This gift provided access to God's word and other gospel resources to 12 remote communities.

Day 27 (24 Dec)

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

Isaiah 9:2a

Reflect

Let's begin our advent journey thinking about those who are living in darkness. They may be on the other side of the world from us, or right next door. There are many reasons for walking in darkness - fear, loneliness, oppression, depression, poverty or violence are just a few. God sees those in darkness and becomes light for them.

Prayer

Lord, we name before you those we know who are going through times of darkness. We think of them and ask, gracious God, that you may bring them light, hope, love and direction. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Day 26 (22 Dec)

"Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests."

Luke 2:14

Reflect

Stop in the busyness and find peace. Give yourself a moment, still yourself. God loves you and is with you. Receive the knowledge that His favour rests on you. In Jesus the fullness of the favour of God has come. It has come for you. Think of all it means this Christmas to know that the outworking of that first Christmas is with us now. Christ has come, salvation has come, God is with us.

Prayer

Lord, I receive your love with joy. I welcome you here, God, You are good and you are worthy to be praised. You wrap me in arms of grace, you smile on me. I am yours and you are here. Thank you Jesus for being my Saviour, my hope and my friend. Amen.

Day 25 (21 Dec)

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God."

Luke 2:13

Reflect

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest choir ever assembled was over 120,000 in India. They must have made some noise. Can you imagine a different choir, a heavenly one? I picture the most amazing group of singers lighting up all of creation with a song of proclamation, joy and hope all mixed together. Wow, how great that must have been. Sometimes we get caught up in so many things at this time of year that we miss the fact that this is an eternal celebration. God has done an amazing thing. Things will never be the same again. Why don’t you sing or have a dance. Who knows, angels may be joining in.

Prayer

Lord of beauty and majesty, you revealed to simple shepherds the very joy of heaven in Jesus, but you were proclaiming to the whole of creation that things had changed forever. The Messiah, the anointed one, had come. Lord, we thank you that that same Jesus is the one we meet by faith today. The Jesus of new life, forgiveness and hope is with us. Hallelujah, we praise your name and join with all creation in celebration. Amen.

Day 24 (20 Dec)

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’”

Isaiah 9:2a

Reflect

Let's begin our advent journey thinking about those who are living in darkness. They may be on the other side of the world from us, or right next door. There are many reasons for walking in darkness - fear, loneliness, oppression, depression, poverty or violence are just a few. God sees those in darkness and becomes light for them.

Prayer

Lord, we name before you those we know who are going through times of darkness. We think of them and ask, gracious God, that you may bring them light, hope, love and direction. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Those in need of the light

A recent MAF trip to Maban Refugee Camp in Doro, South Sudan saw the sight returned to 401 people after cataract removal. The medical team who performed these operations said the sensitive operating equipment would not survive the journey by road. "Air travel is the only way we are able to travel and get the job done".

Day 23 (19 Dec)

"For no word of God will ever fail. 'I am the Lord's servant', Mary answered."

Luke 1:37-38

Reflect

To be the Lord's servant is to submit our lives to the will of God. It is to say, "God, you have loved me with an everlasting love and I am yours. Whatever you want and wherever you want me to go I will do it." For some of us that involves pain and suffering. We can learn so much from our brothers and sisters who have to endure. The ones who understand what it means to take up their cross daily. Those who trust even in the darkest moments. Those who carry on loving and forgiving in the face of hatred. What is God teaching you through the persecuted Church?

Prayer

Lord, we thank you for what we learn from one another. We love the miracle of the worldwide Church. People of all ages brought together through your amazing love. Those of every tongue, tribe and nation. Help us God never to lose sight of the global Church and all you are doing in and through it. Amen.

Day 22 (18 Dec)

"He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity."

Matthew 2:16b

Reflect

The charity Open Doors reports that 322 Christians are killed every month because of their faith and 214 churches destroyed. For many of our brothers and sisters, to follow Jesus is to face the possibility of suffering. How can we help? Are there practical steps we can take to show our unity in Christ?

Prayer

Thank you God that you see all that your children go through. Thank you that no tear is shed that you don't see and thank you that you are a just God. Lord, we pray for the persectured Church. May your people know they are not forgotten. Bring comfort and strength. We pray for those who have lost loved ones through the violence of others. Let them know that the Immanuel is with them. Lord have mercy. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Day 21 (17 Dec)

"When Herod realised that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious."

Matthew 2:16

Reflect

It always astounds me how amazing love or good news can provoke such violent responses. There are those in the world who will do everything they can to stop the plan of God. However, God will always prevail. His kingdom will advance. Our next few days of prayer are for the persecuted Church.

Prayer

Lord, your word tells us that when one part suffers we all suffer. We pray now for our brothers and sisters across the world who are being persecuted for their faith and we pray for all persecuted people, that your love would be with them. Amen.

Day 20 (16 Dec)

"And they will call him Immanuel (which means 'God with us')."

Matthew 1:23b

Reflect

There are so many disasters in the world. We care and we do what we can, but often after a few months we are called to help in another situation. It is good to know that God never forgets or moves on from those in trouble. In April, an earthquake hit Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 8,000 people died and half a million homes were destroyed. Many of those made homeless still have nowhere to call home.

Prayer

Lord, we thank you that you never leave us. Thank you that you don't move on to the next thing and abandon us, You are Immanuel. You are with us. Lord be with all those who are still suffering through past disasters. Those who feel abandoned and uncared for. We pray for the people of Nepal and for all the agencies that are still working there. We thank you for groups like MAF and others who are seeking to get aid to those in the most desolate and difficult areas. May they know encouragement as they bring hope and peace in your name. Amen.

Day 19 (15 Dec)

"She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room for them."

Isaiah 9:2a

Reflect

There is such a contrast at this time of year. For some, parties, lights, buying presents, meeting families and friends. For others, there is debt and homelessness. There will be many in the towns and cities across the UK that will be sleeping rough, enduring the cold with nowhere to go. What does it mean for us to be light to them? Can we, as the Church, do something magnificent that makes a real difference this year?

Prayer

Lord, for all those who are homeless, we ask that you may provide help and care for them. Give your Church compassion and help us not to just pass by. Lord, show us what we can do practically this year that would lift up those who are struggling. Lord, we pray for those agencies that work with the homeless, may they receive the resources and wisdom they need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 18 (14 Dec)

"So Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David."

Luke 2:4

Reflect

Even so close to the birth, Mary and Joseph had to leave their home, town and support to move at the whim of an occupying force. They had no say in where they were going or when. Many people today are being forced to move from their homes because of situations out of their control. The United Nations suggests that there are more than 19 million refugees in the world, many living in camps, not able to get back home.

Prayer

Gracious Lord, we pray for all those who are refugees. Those running in fear. Those in camps. Those taking tremendous risks just to survive. We pray that you might be with them and we ask for your presence to be with all those who work with refugees. Give them favour and encouragement in their work. Amen.

Day 17 (13 Dec)

“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: ‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid.’”

Matthew 1:20

Reflect

Fear is something we are all familiar with. Sometimes our fears are genuine, sometimes misplaced, but fear is part of the human condition. Yet the Bible tells us that perfect love drives fear away. Do we need to invite the love of God more directly into areas of life that bring us fear?

Prayer

Lord, we pray for all those who are captives to fear. Those who face each situation with dread. Those with fears in the present and those fearing the future. Lord, draw near and bring your love. God, we ask for those who live in countries where their situation can change for the worse at any moment. Those with no control over what happens to them. Make your presence known, we pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 16 (12 Dec)

“Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”

Matthew 1:19

Reflect

At the start of the story, there is the possibility of hurt, confusion, disappointment and disgrace. Joseph and Mary are living in that place between faith and fear, hope and misunderstanding. I wonder how isolated they felt. Yet in the midst of it, God was at work. Sometimes in the midst of struggles we just have to hold on and believe that God will work it out.

Prayer

Lord God, we pray for all those who are isolated. Some that live in isolated communities across the world, and others who feel alone even in the midst of many people. We pray that they may know your presence. We also pray for those who go to isolated communities across the world bringing supplies, medicines and support. Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Being light

For the past 70 years, MAF have been providing a lifeline for isolated communities in over 25 countries across the developing world. To find out more, visit www.MAF-UK.org.

Day 15 (11 Dec)

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."

Ephesians 5:9

Reflect

It is hard to stand out, to feel like an outsider. To be different takes courage. Yet as the children of light we are to live in truth. We are to be people of integrity. We live what we say. Sometimes living for and speaking the truth can be painful, but it is part of our discipleship. We are a people living with a different agenda.

Prayer

Lord, help me to stand for truth today. Make me a person of honesty and integrity. Lord, when my courage fails, as it does, grant me your close presence to remind me that healing, forgiveness and love flow from you to me. Thank you, Amen.

Day 14 (10 Dec)

“For the fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.”

Ephesians 5:9

Reflect

Goodness is not a term that is used much in our society anymore. I don’t mean people no longer do good things. Rather, the quality of goodness is not high on society’s agenda. Yet a key sign of being a child of the light has to be living as someone who actively does good. I think that means that our hearts want the best for others which then leads to acts of kindness.

Prayer

Lord, make me a person of goodness. Slow to anger and abounding in love. God, in the power of your Spirit, change me and make me more like Jesus. Are there areas of my life that need to be changed by you? I name them before you now. Come, Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 13 (09 Dec)

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light.”

Ephesians 5:8

Reflect

We are children of the light. A radical change has happened. Once we were darkness, then God in His mercy, through the amazing salvation work of Jesus, changed us to light. Now we are to live as children of the light. What does that look like in your situation? Can you think of examples of living as children of the light?

Prayer

Thank you God for every opportunity that you give me to live for you. Help me to see the opportunities and grant me the boldness to take them. Now in the silence will you reveal one thing I should do today that will please you? Amen.

Day 12 (08 Dec)

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

Reflect

The light of Jesus was seen in many ways but one of the main ones was through what he did. He didn’t just talk about the love of God, he demonstrated it, day after day. Our lives are to be demonstrations of the love of God. We are to live in such a way that people notice and give praise to God. Are people praising God because of what we are doing? Both as individuals and churches, the challenge is to live out love.

Prayer

Lord, help me not to hide my light. Save me from apathy and the blandness that so easy envelops us. Let me use my energy in ways that bless others and demonstrate your love. May the peoples praise you, O God. Amen.

Day 11 (07 Dec)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:14

Reflect

It is amazing that Jesus calls himself the light of the world but also calls us lights in the world. Can you imagine a large fire on bonfire night, glowing in your back garden. Red and orange with sparks crackling. Then taking a dry stick and putting the end into the heat, so it soon starts glowing – a torch from the fire. We are light because we are close to the light. It is the light that makes us lights. Brightness depends on proximity. The closer we are to the light, the greater our capacity to shine. How bright a light are you?

Prayer

Draw me closer to you God. Help me to reflect your light in places of darkness. If I am not bright, help me, through your Holy Spirit, to wait upon you and know your presence. Amen.

Encountering the light

Working with over 1,500 partner organisations, MAF enables access to people and places our partners would otherwise struggle to reach. Shortening travel times, we increase their efficiency.

Day 10 (06 Dec)

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the lamb is its lamp.”

Revelation 21:23

Reflect

Darkness is often a picture of sin, fear and confusion. A lack of light is a lack of life and joy. In this text we get a vision of the new Jerusalem, a place where there will be no tears, mourning, pain or sorrow. It is lit up by the glory of God as people, unrestricted, worship the lamb. It is the time free from fear and hopelessness. It is the full light of God’s character and it is our destiny. No matter what we have gone through. No matter the depths of sorrow or heights of joy. There is nothing to compare with being bathed in unrestricted light, to see Jesus as he truly is.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, be my everything. In trial and success, in tears, in laughter, be my everything, and remind me always of the joy that is mine through your amazing sacrificial love. Amen.

Day 09 (05 Dec)

“A light on my path.”

Psalm 119:105b

Reflect

It was almost dark. I was staying in a lodge in part of a hotel complex. I was running late and knew people were waiting for me. I ran out of the hotel heading for the lodge and didn’t see a large black wooden flower pot in the middle of the path. I ran right into it and did a fairly amazing somersault right over, landing with no dignity. The pain on my shins and ankle was bad. Fortunately, there was nobody about to see this piece of impromptu entertainment. I got up quickly and moved on. God’s word is a light to our paths. There are no unseen dangers, no pot holes or flower pots to fall over. I can step out with a confident stride because God lights my way. When I use His word and store it in my life, no danger is hidden.

Prayer

Lord God, give me confidence to move forward. Let me stride into the future you have for me with boldness. Let your word direct my steps, God, so that I am aware of every danger and navigate around it. And Lord, if ever I fall I thank you that you are there to pick me up.

Day 08 (04 Dec)

“Your word is a lamp for my feet.”

Psalm 119:105a

Reflect

Have you ever had a power-cut in your house? Have you been scrambling around hunting for a torch? Moving so slowly, banging into stuff and losing all sense of space. Without light everything has a tinge of confusion and fear about it. God has given His word to us so that we can see what is around us. We are not going to fall flat on our faces or be frightened to move because we have a lamp that is for our feet. Is God saying something specific from His word into your life? Are you acting upon it? How seriously are you taking that word?

Prayer

Lord, I thank you that you don’t leave me in confusion. I don’t need to be paralysed with fear, unable to move my feet forward. Thank you that you have given your word as a lamp to my feet so that I can see what is around me. Help me to pay attention to the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 07 (03 Dec)

"Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 8:12b

Reflect

We follow lots of things in life: advice, fashion trends, other people. However, there is only one type of following that comes with a promise as wonderful as the one in this text. Jesus, who is the light of the world, promises that we won't walk in darkness when we follow him. He lights the path for us when we are close to him. Light and following go together. How closely are we following? Are we leaving everything and following Jesus wherever he leads?

Prayer

Lord, help me just to follow you. Sometimes I want to know every possible turn in the road, measure every risk. Help me to have the trust just to follow so that I am not stumbling about in the darkness. Give me courage God to answer your call and follow you anywhere at any time.

Day 06 (02 Dec)

“I am the light of the world."

John 8:12

Reflect

in all his ways. He is holy and he is gracious. There is no one like him. The wonder is that Jesus, God’s perfect light, loves you. Jesus calls you to get closer to him, closer to the light. Is the light dim because you are so far from him?
Do you need to draw nearer to Jesus?

Prayer

Lord, I thank you for your love. Forgive me for the times when I wander away from you. Rather than basking in the warmth and brightness of you I see you dimly at a distance. Lord, help me to draw closer today, to seek you and to worship you and know again your affection for me. Amen.

Light in Darkness

Some of the most vulnerable communities in the world are locked behind formidable geographical barriers - mountains, swamps, deserts or jungle. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) fly light aircraft into these remote and hard to reach places with a vision to see isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ's name - to bring light to areas of darkness.

Day 05 (01 Dec)

"God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."

1 John 1:5b

Reflect

This morning I cleaned a pair of shoes. I don't know how I did it but I seemed to get more on my hands and on my shirt cuff than I did on the shoes. There were marks all over me. Tainted by polish. There is darkness around us. We see the symptoms of it everywhere. Innocent people suffering, systems breaking down, hopelessness and fear gripping people in a choke hold of desperation. It is easy for us to be tainted by it all. To become either hardened or apathetic. We can be tainted by cynicism or we can cross the road and not get involved. In God there is no darkness. God is light that is pure. There is no taint of anything on God - no darkness. Even the darkest situations and circumstances can be penetrated by Him. Light has come.

Prayer

Lord God, help me to reflect upon my own life. Show me the areas of darkness in me. (Silence) Where I have become hardened to the plight of others or where I have lost the will to do good, Lord help me. Bring your light and your forgiveness and help me today to walk in your light. Allow me to see that in the darkest places it is possible for the light to shine brightest. Amen.

Day 04 (30 Nov)

“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”

Isaiah 9:7

Reflect

There are approximately 200 independent sovereign states in the world. There are lots of forms of government. There are places that are being governed badly. People are living in fear, others are dying of starvation, many face persecution. There is darkness upon many lands. In the promises of the coming of Jesus we are given a picture of one who governs with justice and righteousness. Jesus is the one who alone can bring peace. He is the prince of peace. Take time to think of one place in the world where people are suffering.

Prayer

Lord, have mercy, bring order out of chaos, protect the vulnerable, strengthen the weak and give voice to the voiceless. Let your peace come to us, God, and let righteousness and justice flow like a river. Amen.

Day 03 (29 Nov)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6

Reflect

The son who was to be born was the one who would give council. He has both wisdom and compassion. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is called a counsellor. He is one who gives sound advice, who is close enough to the situation to understand what needs to be done. Many people live in the darkness of confusion, weighed down by the decisions that they need to make. In God we have one who is the supreme counsellor. He is able to bring light and direction into even the most confusing of situations. It may be that during this Advent you are facing a difficult decision and are not sure what direction to take. Ask the Wonderful Counsellor for light and direction.

Prayer

Wonderful Counsellor, we ask for your guidance at this time. Help us to take the right paths and the correct decisions. Lord be our guide. And even when we take a wrong turning, help us to trust that you are with us, healing, restoring and forgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 02 (28 Nov)

"On those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned."

Isaiah 9:2b

Reflect

The writer and director Woody Allen wrote: "It's not that I am afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens". But we are there. Dying is a certainty of living. We cannot escape it. Many face either the fear of death or the numbing pain of bereavement. In the midst of such a reality of darkness there is the promise of God that the light will shine. "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me." The promise is for the light of the presence of God to be with those going through the valley of darkness.

Prayer

Lord, have mercy on all those who are living in the place of the shadow of death. Those in that valley coping with terminal illness or those who have lost loved ones. God, who is light, bring strength, hope and comfort today. Amen.

Day 01 (27 Nov)

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light."

Isaiah 9:2a

Reflect

Let's begin our advent journey thinking about those who are living in darkness. They may be on the other side of the world from us, or right next door. There are many reasons for walking in darkness - fear, loneliness, oppression, depression, poverty or violence are just a few. God sees those in darkness and becomes light for them.

Prayer

Lord, we name before you those we know who are going through times of darkness. We think of them and ask, gracious God, that you may bring them light, hope, love and direction. In Jesus' name, Amen.