Graffiti by artist Banksy of dove holding an olive branch, wearing a flack-jacket; in Bethlehem.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
O Little Town of Bethlehem, verse 4
“O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”
This past fall, my wife and I crisscrossed the U.S., receiving hospitality in a wide variety of homes as we itinerated in churches in more than a dozen different states. This provided us an opportunity to make new friends and revisit old friends, exchanging with all on a wide array of topics. We enjoyed this fellowship with friends both old and new. There was one subject, however, that we shied away from openly discussing with anyone: who we or they planned to vote for during the upcoming presidential elections. This despite the fact that candidates from all parties were being featured daily on media and news outlets. This despite viewing and listening in close proximity with our friends in their homes as each candidate sang from the screen his or her own praises and promoted his or her worthiness as future president of this great country. Why the silence on this subject? Perhaps we are finally old enough to know that most politicians running for office promise much more than they can or will possibly deliver.
Fortunately, for those of us who have given up on the political promises of politicians, Isaiah tells the faithful of all generations in whom they can safely cast their vote. Isaiah promises us that the child born in Bethlehem will be the true king, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus Christ is the only king guaranteed not to disappoint his people. His commitment to truth, justice and love, his power to change individuals, communities and nations and his empathy with the poor, the weak and the oppressed stand today as they did during his lifetime. His followers are nourished in wisdom and comfort that will always be available to those who make Him king over our lives.
This Christmas, let us take time out from all the cultural and religious activities that dominate our societies to cast our vote for Jesus.
Child of Bethlehem, Everlasting Father, King of Peace, this Christmas we cast our vote for you. Come to our troubled hearts and world and usher in the principles of your Kingdom. Make us your loyal subjects and faithful servants. Amen.
24 December written by Rev. Alex and Brenda Awad, GBGM missionaries at Bethlehem Bible College and the East Jerusalem Baptist Church for the past 26 years. They are currently itinerating in the USA.
All photographs taken by Rev. Kristen L. Brown.