“Things Hoped For”
Friday, December 6th, 2019
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. -NRSV
Millions of Christians, from diverse traditions across the world, seek to prepare for the celebration of Christmas during this season of Advent. It is because of the privilege of faith, which we have been granted by God’s grace, that we prepare. We prepare with hearts full of hope. Our hearts fill with the hope of things that are to come: Beautiful music and colorful lights that inspire us, wonderful gatherings with family and friends, delicious food that transports us to beautiful moments experienced long ago, and the joy of seeing our loved ones enjoy the presents with which we express our appreciation and gratitude towards them. We hope. We hope for the things that are to come. We hope with the faith that has been granted to us. We hope as we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. We hope as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel, the God who is present with us in every circumstance. We hope. We hope for justice and for truth. We hope for the One who has brought God’s kingdom near to intervene on behalf of our broken world. We hope for the constant presence of Emmanuel to bring healing into the broken reality that our world experiences everyday.
Our focus during this first week of Advent has been children who suffer daily in Palestine. As we come to the end of this first week, let us pause and reflect on the things that these children, in whom Emmanuel is present, hope for. What are the things for which they hope for on a daily basis? A UNICEF REPORT helps us answer that question. Children suffering in Palestine do hope for things. They hope for simple things that are beyond monetary value. They hope for things that many children around the world take for granted. The things that they hope for are are illustrated in the following UNICEF statistics:
- 1 in 4 children suffer from anemia in Palestine.
- Nearly one third of children under the age of five in Palestine suffer from Zinc deficiency and vitamin A and vitamin D deficiency.
- There is only 1 toilet per every 42 students in West Bak schools, and only 1 per every 71 students in Gaza strip schools.
- There is only 1 hand-washing facility per every 72 students in West Bank schools, and only 1 per every 130 students in Gaza strip schools.
- There is only 1 drinking water point per every 50 students in West Bank Schools, and 1 per every 158 students in Gaza strip schools.
- Over 320,000 children are in need of protection programs, including psychological support in Palestine.
- Over 17,000 children are in need of specialized case management support in Palestine.
- On average, over 300 Palestinian children enter Israeli military detention each year.
- On average, over 1,000 children are injured due to military conflict in Palestine each year.
- On average, over 15 children die due to military conflict in Palestine each year.
May the Spirit of God, who gifts us daily with the privilege of faith, drive us to compassion for children who suffer in Palestine and throughout the world. May she, as we hope for things to come during this Advent season, open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts driving us to action on behalf of those most vulnerable. May she helps us never take for granted the many things that we enjoy and that millions around the world hope for.
Once again, if you have not taken this simple ACTION in support of children’s rights in Palestine please do so today. If you have, please share it with someone who has not!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we humbly ask for the continued guidance of your Spirit as we prepare to celebrate the birth of your Son, Emmanuel. May your Spirit grant us eyes to see and ears to listen to the broken reality of our world. May she empower us with the compassion that is needed to respond to the needs of those most vulnerable. May she empower us daily to join the Prince of Peace in his redemptive mission. May it be so.
Edgar A. Vergara Millán