Do not be afraid. I bring you Good News…” LUKE 2:10
Bringing Hope at Advent
Dr Elie Haddad
Arab Baptist Theological Seminary [ABTS] Lebanon
The Gospel message is that of hope. The Church has the privilege and responsibility of being an agent of hope in this hopeless world because Jesus is the hope of the world. The advent season is the best time to remember this and to reflect on it. Jesus came to bring hope to a world in despair. But how do we communicate this message of hope in a place that is full of hardship and conflict?
I live in Lebanon, a country plagued with crises, situated in a region full of strife and volatility. This forces us to ask important questions about how we communicate a message of hope. Is it enough to tell people that at the end good will win over evil and everything will be fine when people today are struggling to the core and are facing acute problems?
It starts with us, the community of faith. If we do not have hope, then how can we communicate it? A good friend of mine contends that the opposite of hope is lack of imagination. It is so true. If we are not able to imagine that things can be different, that God wishes a different outcome for us, that we – the Church – can make a difference, then we do not have hope.
We can make a difference. We can communicate hope. We can do this by loving people the way God loves them, by caring for them the way God cares for them, by living among those whom we are called to serve, by pouring our lives in serving them. As we live and serve in this turbulent Arab Muslim world, we are learning that hope is not proclaimed through empty words. Rather, it is proclaimed through lives lived in loving and caring for others, just like Jesus did.
This advent season is a good time to stop and reflect on God’s message of love and hope shown to us through the life and teachings of Jesus. It is a good time to renew our commitment to love Jesus by loving those whom Jesus loves and by living a life filled with hope in their presence. May this advent season be a season of new inspiration and motivation for proclaiming a message of hope that is full of life and imagination.
Dr Elie Haddad shares an update on ABTS work in Lebanon, as they equip grassroot leaders.