The Wondrous Mystery

An Upper Room Advent eCourse

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We live in strange times. Our world is shifting and changing, and we are increasingly aware of our vulnerability and uncertainty. The season of Advent invites us to embrace the yet unknown—to pay attention to what we do not see with our eyes and what we do not understand. It’s a season that asks us to wait expectantly and hopefully, though we may not be at all certain just what we are waiting for.

As Christians, we are empowered by our knowledge of Jesus Christ: we know that Jesus was born, lived among us, was crucified, and rose from the dead and that through Christ we are given the profound gift of eternal life. But, at the first Advent, those who watched and waited did not have such assurance; they did not know what we know now. These people who had heard the prophets’ foretelling and who were waiting for the Messiah—how did they experience the first Advent? Isaiah answers, “The people who walked in the darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2, NRSV) As we watch and wait this Advent amid great uncertainty, we have much to learn from the saints who came before us.

Let’s watch and wait together. The Wondrous Mystery: An Upper Room Advent eCourse will be led by Sharon Conley Cottingham, Director of Formational Learning for The Upper Room, and attended by friends of The Upper Room. Our daily readings will come from The Wondrous Mystery, a collection of meditations from Weavings, an award-winning Christian journal published by The Upper Room. Written by exceptional authors, including Henri J. M. Nouwen, Barbara Brown Taylor, Wendell Berry, Sue Monk Kidd, Wendy M. Wright, and John S. Mogabgab, these meditations will challenge us to reflect on the wondrous mystery of God and on the ways that Jesus’ birth upends the world as we know it and signals the beginning of God’s kingdom.

Our eCourse includes:

  • Daily meditations from The Wondrous Mystery
  • Audio recordings of the daily meditations
  • Daily reflection questions
  • Virtual guided spiritual practice sessions
    – Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Central Time
    – December 1, 8, 15, and 22
  • Virtual group learning and discussion sessions
    – Mondays from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Central Time
    – November 29, December 6, 13, and 20


To purchase a print version of The Wondrous Mystery, 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


Sharon Conley Cottingham
Sharon Conley Cottingham

Sharon Conley Cottingham has worked in a variety of capacities (Companions in Christ, Weavings, SOULfeast) with The Upper Room since 2005. Currently as Director of Formational Learning, she leads a team in creating online experiences featuring the content and resources of The Upper Room. Sharon’s spiritual journey has consistently taken her to new and surprising places and has been energized through the compassion practice outlined in Frank Roger’s Practicing Compassion. She holds a master's degree in theology from Regent College (Vancouver, BC) and is a graduate of Shalem's Soul of Leadership program. Originally from Philadelphia, she now calls Nashville, TN home.


Course Content


  Live Sessions
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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