by Mae Elise Cannon, World Vision
Advent is the season of hope. Hope in eager anticipation; waiting to celebrate the incarnation of God manifested in human form through the birth of Jesus. Hope in present circumstances; the small moments of heavenly triumph where the kingdom of God breaks forth into the dark realities of this world. Hope in the future; as we wait for the redemption of the world and the second coming of Christ Jesus. We hope for what is yet to come.
As we enter into this season of hope, we are reminded to celebrate, worship, and rejoice. The Psalmist speaks forth these words: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad.” All of creation will cry out, singing for joy, recognizing the saving power of Jesus, for he does not leave us abandoned in our earthly circumstances, but He comes. He dwells with us. He judges in righteousness. He redeems. He is the manifestation of hope.
As we turn our eyes to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, we cannot help but be grieved about the current realities plaguing the Holy Land. Both Israelis and Palestinians live with an uncertain future; will peace ever come? Where is hope manifested? Will only evil triumph?
The Jewish community has suffered great losses at the hand of global anti-Semitism. Palestinians continue to feel displaced and without a homeland to call their own. Increased militarization causes great suffering and loss of life. The political future remains uncertain, and the people in the region suffer the consequences.
Yet, we have great hope in this: we worship a God for whom nothing is impossible. We believe in the God of the universe, the Lord of all things. There is no conflict, brokenness, evil that is too great for Him to overcome. The Creator is the Lord of love and the Lord of life. He is great, powerful, and mighty. He breathes air into a valley of dry bones and they come to life. He is the God of birth, death, and resurrection. He overcomes all things. He triumphs over evil. He sustains us in the broken places and gives us hope for a new future.
In this spirit of hope, may we together look toward a new reality for the Holy Land: a future where Israeli and Palestinian children might live side by side in prosperity with great hope for what tomorrow may bring.
Pray with Us:
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.”
Psalm 96:11-13 [NIV]
A Prayer by Rev. Doris Warrell:
Search us God and declare that there is hope for us;
Let us rejoice for we know our past and choose a new way;
A way that is of Your Spirit, a way that brings forth songs of joy, peace and love.
Originally posted on Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) 2014 Advent reflections