“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Dawn breaking over Bethlehem.
All Earth Is Waiting, verse 2
“Thus says the prophet to those of Israel, “A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel,” for his name is “God with us,” our breather shall be, with him hope will blossom once more within our hearts.”
Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation. Preparations are made to welcome in the birth of our savior, and we join in spirit the wise men on their original journey to meet the Christ child. They followed the star, and we count down the days. They brought gifts to honor Him, and we buy gifts to honor one another. However, we, like they, are called to look towards that day with not just hope, but expectant hope – a hope that grows out of belief in God’s faithfulness to restore all of creation to peace and harmony.
This concept of waiting takes on a whole new meaning here in Palestine, for it is a country that is all too familiar with waiting: waiting for an end to the occupation, waiting for recognition from the international community, waiting for equality, waiting for peace from persecution. It can be a challenge here, as in other places where real human suffering occurs, to lift our eyes up and see the star shining us a way forward.
Despite this present darkness, though, we hold onto the promise that, “the dawn from on high will break upon us,” and we anticipate this coming light. In this season of advent, we wait for Christ’s birth, and also for the making of all things new in and through Him. We wait, not simply with hope, but with expectant hope, knowing that our God is good, and that we are not forgotten.
Waiting is hard. We long for justice, we long for peace. Give us patience, God, and give us strength. When we feel overwhelmed by the darkness all around us, and despair is close at hand, gently lift our faces upwards to you. Help us to see the light of the Eastern star shining brightly down, guiding our way. Fill our hearts with joyful anticipation, with expectant joy, as we approach the day where we remember Christ’s birth, and how His coming forever connected us with you. Amen.
6 December written by Rev. Jessica Lowe, GBGM Individual Volunteer in the Methodist Liaison Office in Jerusalem. She is a commissioned Elder of the Louisiana Conference.
Photograph taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown.