Light Shines in Darkness

In him was life, and that life was the light of the people.
The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ John 1:4-5

Advent is a season of waiting. The anticipation of things to come. The desperate hope that the darkness of the world is not the end of the story; but one day light will prevail.

For those invested and paying attention to the political realities of the Middle East, often darkness seems to rule the day. There is much darkness to lament.

The darkness of the Syrian conflict that has raged for more than half a decade and has resulted in the displacement and death of millions…

The darkness of the genocide of Christians and minority groups such as the Yazidis in Iraq and surrounding nations at the hands of Islamic extremists and other militant groups…

The darkness of failed intervention of Western powers – and the brutal effects of military interventionism – that often increase the suffering and harm the day-to-day realities on the ground for civilians and men, women, and children not directly engaged in conflict…

The darkness of a military occupation imposed upon the Palestinian people for now almost half a century…

The hope of the Advent season is that what seem to be intractable realities today will not be the end of the story.

The hope of the Advent season is that what seem to be intractable realities today will not be the end of the story. As Christians who believe in the person of Jesus, this season reminds of what it means to wait in anticipation of hope. Hope that transcends understanding. Faith that the pain, suffering, and brokenness in the world is not the end of the story. This week, as the Advent season begins – reflect on these words:

The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

May we pray together in the weeks ahead for Christ to come and for light to prevail.

God of the universe, on the first day of the Creation story, you said the words “Let there be light.” This is our prayer – may your light, goodness, mercy, and grace overcome the darkness that seems to be overwhelmingly present in the Middle East today.

The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Lord God, may your light shine in darkness upon all of the people of the Middle East, particularly those who are in the path of violence and oppression. In the painful places throughout the Middle East and the world where violence is so prevalent and power is used as a means to abuse, oppress, and control – let your light overcome.

The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

For the millions of refugees who have suffered untold trauma; for all those who have lost loved ones, family members, and friends; in the places where it seems unjust systems will never be overturned; remind us of the truth of this Advent Season. Give us hope.

The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Amen.

CMEP works to encourage U.S. policies that actively promote a just, lasting, and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring security, human rights and religious freedom for all the people of the region.  Stay informed on their work by signing up for their e-bulletin and following them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Prayer of Confession

By Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us.