Saturday, December 24

Advent Reflection: Waiting, Hope, and Action

Advent Reflection: Waiting, Hope, and Action

24 December 2005

Dear Friends,

As this advent season comes to an end, we wanted to share with you the following reflection from a friend with Christian Peacemaker Teams who just arrived in Baghdad. It is a good reminder that although we wait with patience and expectation for the coming of God’s reign—and that for many in this world that sense of expectant waiting continues on long after the Christmas season—our waiting should be characterized by an active engagement in the lives of those around us that embodies that reality today.

Peace to you all this Christmas season.

Timothy and Christi Seidel
Peace Development Workers
Mennonite Central Committee - Palestine


Advent reflection
December 15, 2005
Waiting, Hope, and Action
By Peggy Gish

It's always hard to wait. It's especially hard now, as we are hoping and waiting for the safe release Jim Loney, Tom Fox, Harmeet Sooden, and Norman Kember, colleagues of ours in the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. They were taken by force in Baghdad on November 26 after attending a meeting with an Iraqi organization to collaborate on documenting the abuses of Iraqi detainees under the Iraqi prison system.

It is hard for their families. It is hard for us not knowing where our four colleagues are, how they are holding up during this time, or when they will be released. We pray, we cry, we wake up in the night feeling tense with worry. We ask God for more faith and trust as we call for their release and work to share the stories of who these men are, of the work of CPT in Iraq and other places of conflict and injustice. We care about these four men, yet we also feel the same urgency for all Iraqis and their families who are suffering fear and pain because their family members have disappeared or been killed or imprisoned.

Advent is a time of waiting and longing for something to happen. Perhaps the time before Jesus was born was a time when people felt the same kind of urgency and cried out for release, wholeness and healing from the oppression or captivity they knew. They, too, had heard God's promises, yet didn't know how it would all turn out. Some were able to keep walking ahead in faith, expectant of God breaking in and working in seemingly impossible situations.

Waiting does not mean being passive. Our calling is to an active waiting. We can act boldly, taking risks, because God is with us giving us hope. Even death, persecutions, or violent forces of power will not separate us from the love of God! If we follow the way of Jesus, we will expect hardships and suffering. We can expect to die, but we don't give up the way of the cross. We may need to cull away the things in our lives that hold us back and weigh us down. We may have to grieve and cry together, and support each other more deeply, but we keep going and working where God leads us.


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