Today we relight the candle of HOPE.
Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE.
As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace.
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When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The Christmas season is full of light – sparkling lights on the Christmas tree; houses in the neighborhood decorated with lights for the coming holiday; candles flickering on the mantle; a fire in the fireplace representing warmth, comfort, and hope. These are the images of light we will hold onto this Advent season.
And we hold these images as hope not only for our own lives; but for the lives of those suffering in Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. We remember in our prayers this week:
- The men, women, and children who are living in Gaza; often with only a few hours of electricity per day.
- The 60,000 internally displaced persons in Gaza still waiting for a durable housing solution since the destruction of their homes during the 2014 Gaza War.
- The families affected by the 155 demolitions or confiscations of Palestinian owned structures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank during September and October 2016.
- Those affected by the terrible fires throughout Israel and the West Bank that destroyed hundreds of homes, displacing tens of thousands.
We close with a prayer from The Reverend Said Ailabouni, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Illinois:
God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.
(Source, Churches for Middle East Peace.)