Christmas Day: He will bring us goodness and light

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward all people (Luke 2:14).

Christmas has arrived! The hope of the living Messiah has come. Today, of all days, may we not be discouraged by the realities of this earthly world. Problems, conflict, and war continue to exist throughout the Middle East, but the good news remains – war does not have the final word. Rather today, we hold onto the hope of all the things the birth of Christ represents. 

He will bring us goodness and light. 

For many of us, the story of the Nassar Family and the Tent of Nations remains a place of great hope in spite of numerous challenges and earthly obstacles. For the past several months, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) joined alongside many other organizations including the Friends of Tent of Nations, advocating for a court date in order for the Nassar family farm to be able to be registered. We rejoiced when the Israeli authorities set a court date of December 13, 2021. Holding onto hope and prayer, we did all we could to advocate for a favorable outcome. 

On December 9, 2021, Daoud Nassar wrote on the Tent of Nations Facebook page:We hope and pray that this hearing will not be postponed and the reregistration process will move forward smoothly and end in our favor. This would end our thirty years of legal battle in Israeli military and supreme courts to protect the Tent of Nations land from the danger of confiscation. Now we are in the last stages of our legal struggle, we pray and hope that at the end of this long struggle we will see the sun of justice rise again. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and for standing in solidarity with us in our long journey for justice.”

However, shortly before the court date arrived, the Nassar Family received a notice that the date would be delayed. 

What does hope look like when justice is delayed? We are grateful for the example of the Tent of Nations where they continue to hold onto hope even in the midst of such ongoing oppression and injustice. As Palestinian Christians, the example of Daoud and his family are a beacon of hope in the face of despair. They remain steadfast in their fortitude. Their resilience and never giving up are beacons of goodness and light. 

Even at the time of Jesus’ birth, there were attempts to destroy the goodness of God, but ultimately love prevailed. We will hold onto that hope and know that the darkness that currently exists, but is not the end of the story. On this Christmas, we celebrate the hope that comes through the person of Jesus. 

He will bring us goodness and light. 

Lord Jesus, let your light shine and prevail over the darkness of injustice and oppression. We pray this on behalf of the Nassar Family Farm at the Tent of Nations. We pray for your justice and mercy to be present with them and with all Christians celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. We pray for every man, woman, and child who suffers under the yoke of oppression that goodness would prevail. May your love and justice shine forth especially in this season where we celebrate your worth. We remain grateful for the hope that comes from you as we anticipate goodness and light. Amen. 

Written by Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon

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