No one would ever call me an optimist, yet some part of me has always believed that things would work out for my good. I grew up in a Christian home, and the church culture of the ’90s fed me a lie that I consumed and digested wholeheartedly: if I just followed Jesus, my life would be blessed. If I was a good Christian, then I would have a faithful and loving husband, as many kids as I wanted, a beautiful house, and what I imagined was the leisurely life of a stay-at-home mom. It was just like the American dream, but churchified. I didn’t even realize I bought this lie until around age thirty when, for the first time in my life, I didn’t get something that I desperately wanted. The experience shook my faith.
Possibly the most misused verse in the Bible, Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” was no longer a personal source of endless encouragement. It was lemon juice on a cut. The bitter taste of medicine I didn’t want to receive, even if deep down inside I knew it could help me heal.
The most intense stage of my anger, doubt, and tears of grief took a year to work through. These pangs still rise up today, emotions that I’ve finally learned to bring to the gentle comfort of my Good Shepherd, who always chooses the best path for his sheep, even when it’s the most painful one. Through this process, I learned that my portrait of a perfect life was penetrable, and because of God’s gentle and kind discipline, I placed my hope in the only unshakable thing in the world: God himself.
The Weight of Darkness
So when 2020 rolled around and the whisperings of a mysterious sickness began to surface, you would think that I—who am naturally pessimistic and have been forced by God’s kind hand to place my hope in the eternal—could have anticipated the worst. Yet I remember thinking (what seems totally ludicrous now), this will never affect America. Two years later, we find ourselves still trudging through its aftermath. And the world around us continues to look scarier, darker, full of evil. Unfathomable war, endless new ways people can own their truth, shaky supply chains, natural disasters, and financial instability abound.
Since the fall, the world has always been dark. But it seems to grow darker still. So much evil, corruption, sickness, and hunger proliferate. My sheltered, risk-averse, childhood self could not fathom such a world. Back then, I knew we were supposed to long for Jesus’ second coming. But I couldn’t seem to force myself to do it. I loved my life—I didn’t want it to change. But now, as I look at the news or hear of another death or another story of racial injustice, I whisper under my breath with fierce conviction and longing, Come, Lord Jesus.
Light and Life to All He Brings
So every year, when Christmas rolls around and I break out my favorite carols, I find my mind lingering on one phrase from “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”: light and life to all he brings. Perhaps Charles Wesley adapted this phrase about Jesus from John 1:4, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Christ brought light and life for when we face the darkness of sickness and war.
Christ brought light and life for when our longings remain unfulfilled.
Christ brought light and life to a world that celebrates evil.
Christ brought light and life to give us hope in personal suffering.
Christ brought light and life to help us see with an eternal perspective.
Study the Letters of John With Us
So when our world continues to grow darker still and all seems broken and lost, we desperately need our Savior. If you’ll join me, we’ll seek more of the light and life of Christ and his righteousness in an often overlooked section of the Bible this Advent season: the Letters of John. In the tender voice of an aging John, we’ll deepen our understanding of our God of light, love, and life.
Hoping in God’s light,
Content Director and author of Light and Life to All He Brings
P.S. Check out the entire Light and Life to All He Brings Collection today! Find frequently asked questions about the new collection below.
What's in the Life and Life to All He Brings collection?
The collection includes this year’s Advent study Light and Life to All He Brings, a beautiful set of Light and Life to All He Brings Advent Calendar Cards, Well-Watered Kids Light and Life to All He Brings Advent Cards, and our Light and Life Advent Bundle and Light and Life Advent Family Bundle (both featuring an exclusive Better Things Candle Co. candle and a gorgeous new mug!).
How long is the collection available?
Each year, our Advent studies go quickly and eventually sell out. Order early to secure your copy and take part in the early order incentive period.
What’s the early order incentive period?
Order by Friday, October 21 to receive a FREE 5x7 art print with every study purchase! No code required. Plus save 15% on the Advent bundles (while supplies last)! Don't wait to order—bundle quantities are limited and will sell out.
Can I still get the Light and Life to All He Brings study after the early order incentive period?
Our Advent collection items are only available in limited quantities. You may still be able to purchase the study after the early order incentive period depending on stock, but you’ll miss out on the free art print and 15% bundle discounts.
What does Light and Life to All He Brings cover and how is it formatted?
Light and Life to All He Brings is a five-week Advent study through 1, 2, and 3 John. The weekly format includes five days of in-depth Bible study plus a weekend reflection.
Can I do the study with a group?
Yes! We love when women walk through our studies together within their local context. You can gather during the Advent season to talk through each week of content. There is also a weekly Bible verse you could memorize together.
Will we go through the study together?
Yes, we will go through the study together in our Facebook Community Group November 28–January 1. There will be weekly discussion questions and prompts to interact with.
What's in the Advent Bundle and Advent Family Bundle?
The Light and Life Advent Bundle includes Light and Life to All He Brings, the Light and Life to All He Brings Advent Calendar Cards, an exclusive Better Things Candle Co. candle, and a Light and Life mug. The Light and Life Advent Family Bundle includes all of these items plus the Well-Watered Kids Light and Life to All He Brings Advent Cards. Bundles will sell out, so order yours today!
Can I purchase the candle or mug separately from the bundles?
No. Due to limited quantities, the candle and mug are only available in the bundles this year. Order your bundle right away to save 15% and get your candle and mug before the bundles sell out.
How do I use the Well-Watered Kids Light and Life to All He Brings Advent Calendar Cards?
The set includes a card for each weekday from November 28–December 23. The cards focus on the book of 1 John and address how God gives light and life to the world through his Son, Jesus. Each card has a Scripture reference and questions for daily discussion. These are designed to be used in conjunction with the Light and Life to All He Brings study so women share with their child from the overflow of what they’re learning.
Are the items in the Light and Life to All He Brings Collection pre-order items?
No. Our Advent collection is not a pre-order this year as it has been in the past. Your payment will be processed when you place your order and your order will ship in 3–5 business days.
Do you ship internationally?
We do! However, due to current global shipping disruptions, we cannot guarantee that international orders will arrive in time for the beginning of the Advent season. Therefore, ordering right away is the best option for our international customers.