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So much of our Holy Scripture was written in the context of the darkness of suffering and poverty, forced migration and oppression. The birth of Jesus took place in Roman territory, when the Jews faced high infant mortality, illiteracy, severe discrimination, food insecurity, and high debt repayment leading to indentured servitude and slavery. The historical conditions of these times were chaotic, unjust, and saturated with suffering. This is the world Jesus was born into, after Mary nearly faced single-teen motherhood. The Holy family weathered homelessness in Bethlehem, poverty, and then finally, flight as refugees to Egypt.

The light that Jesus’ birth brings cracks into history’s darkness. The power of that light becomes real as we continue to face the world’s great need for the warmth and the radiance of God. So friends, as we move forward in our Advent journey let us invite others, and allow our own selves to be captured by the beauty and the warmth of the glory of Christ as we look into the darkness. Let us see, through Advent eyes, the joy and the peace, even in the midst of darkness. Friends, let’s do this together.

Prayer - Untitled, Author Unknown

Transforming God, whose light always penetrates the darkness and whose love always overcomes hate, we ask that you sustain us as we struggle to make your light visible in an angry and frightened world.

Nurture us daily as we work for your justice in unjust places, and your peace in places where no peace is to be found. Give us courage and strength when we are fearful and weak.

Give us hope and forgiveness when we feel hopeless and angry. And guide us every step of the way as we walk toward the light. In Jesus ’name we pray. Amen.