Why was Israel called the Promised Land? Because of its relationship with its neighbors, being in the center of the Middle East, Africa and Europe, it was ideal land for invaders. No wonder the stories abound throughout Jewish history of the suffering servant and the promise of the Messiah. I don’t know how it feels to be homeless, I do know the feeling of being ‘homesick’. But they were slaves in a foreign land. I wonder, do homeless people in America feel this way? Or modern day African refugees who are displaced by genocide, rape and famine? The Batwa pygmy tribe in Eastern Congo is one of dozens of indigenous tribes who have been evicted from their ancestral regions for so-called conservation, without any compensation. They are systematically expelled with no place to go. The Karamojong of northeastern Uganda account for 80% of the of street kids and beggars in the capital city of Kampala. I am sure they too, have songs and poetry that help them hang onto places they sometimes forget they have. The indescribable energy of African music speaks of the JOY felt at the promise of a redeemed nation that no one can take away.
This is a time of year we think of joy. Happy times for some… family traditions… warmth… gifts. It can also be a time of dread for others, the first Christmas without a loved one or a time of unemployment without means to give; a time that adds more salt to the wound. Some of us may suffer a terminal illness or divorce will force us to share our children between homes. This can be a season that only brings more struggles.
It is painful watching the world move on while you are immersed in a dark place. If you are in a dark place today, you are not alone. Rest assured, things will change. It may take awhile, but it will arrive and you can find joy in that right now. We will all be made whole again in the future. Let the JOY of Advent bring you ever closer to the knowledge that knowing what is, will not always be. You will be whole. We are given the promise of coming home.
“Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace will kiss.”
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