Light from Afar

Experiencing Advent Around the World

Advent is celebrated differently throughout the world. Some cultures barely observe the waiting and focus on the Christmas celebration. Others feel deeply the contrast between present circumstances and God’s promise of a better future, making for a season of fasting and prayer. All of them focus on Christ as the Light of the world.

Light from Afar is a daily Advent devotional that illuminates the season through the unforgettable stories and reflections of four writers from around the world. Authors Nadiyka Gerbish (Ukraine), Joel Bengbeng (Philippines), Cláudio Carvalhaes (Brazil), and Sidwell Mokgothu (South Africa) share cultural and religious traditions of the Advent season in their daily reflections. Each day's meditation includes a scripture reading, a prayer, an opportunity for reflection, and a link to a song from the author’s home country.

The light of the star of Bethlehem has spread around the world. The people who have heard the good news have stories to tell and traditions to share. By joining with Christians from different cultures and countries in prayer, we can experience the hope, love, joy, and peace of Advent, leading ultimately to Immanuel—God with us—on Christmas day.

Our Light from Afar online experience invites participants to read, reflect on, and discuss the daily readings from this Advent devotional. Our online experience includes:

  • all of the readings from the daily guide,
  • recorded interviews with the authors, and
  • a weekly live session with The Upper Room staff—Tuesday evenings, November 28, December 5, 12, and 19 at 6:30 Central Time.*

Light from Afar is available in paperback or eBook from The Upper Room store if you would like a copy of the book to accompany you through the online experience.

*These sessions are recorded for those unable to join during the live session.

To purchase a print version of Light from Afar, visit The Upper Room online store.

Interested in online learning options based on your favorite Upper Room books? Look for this graphic and click it to learn more as you explore The Upper Room online store.

Your Instructor

Carvalhaes, Bengbeng, Gerbish, and Mokgothu​​
Carvalhaes, Bengbeng, Gerbish, and Mokgothu​​

Cláudio Carvalhaes is a native Brazilian and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA); he is associate professor of worship at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Joel Bengbeng is an elder in the Northwest Philippines Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and is the editor of Siled ti Kararag, one of the editions of The Upper Room daily devotional guide in the Philippines.

Nadiyka Gerbish is a bestselling and award-winning Ukrainian author of children’s books, inspirational short stories, and Christian non-fiction.

Sidwell Mokgothu is the District Bishop of the Methodist Church in Southern Africa—Pretoria.

Course Content

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  First Week of Advent– Light from Brazil – Hope – Cláudio Carvalhaes
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  Second Week of Advent – Light from the Philippines – Peace – Joel Bengbeng
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  Third Week of Advent – Light from Ukraine – Joy – Nadiyka Gerbish
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  Fourth Week of Advent – Light from South Africa – Love – Sidwell Mokgothu
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  Guide for Small Groups
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the eCourse start and finish?
The eCourse is intended to start with Advent and continue for four weeks until Christmas. But it will remain open indefinitely. It’s self-paced, so you can decide when to start and when to finish.
How long do I have access to the eCourse?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this eCourse for as long as you like—across any and all devices you own. We’ll give you plenty of notice should we need to close the eCourse.
What if I am unhappy with the eCourse?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us within the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Who sponsors these eCourses?
This eCourse is brought to you by The Upper Room.

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