By Elie Haddad, President of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS),
LeaDev-Langham Programme Partner

Love permeates every aspect of the Christmas story. Jesus incarnated because God so loved the world. However, the
challenging question for me is: do the people around us experience His love through us? Are we allowing His participative grace to flow through us to the blind, sick, brokenhearted, poor, and marginalized?

The answer is not always that easy. I grew up in a region rife with religiously motivated conflict. I grew up in a church community, and I have to admit that I did not grow up loving the “other”. We had a love problem. We did not always reflect His love. It took years of God working in us transforming us to His likeness that we have started to reflect His love. Today, it’s a different story in Lebanon. After ten years of a severe humanitarian crisis,
then political and social uprising, then an economic meltdown, then a global pandemic, culminating in a huge explosion that destroyed parts of Beirut, the story is different. In the midst of calamities, we are witnessing a beautiful image. The church is being the hands and feet of Jesus. At a time when the church cannot gather on Sunday mornings, we can see the church in the streets of Beirut cleaning, sweeping, feeding, caring, and loving in the name of Jesus. In the midst of layers of crises, Jesus is expressing His love through His church.

This beautiful image extends globally. The love that was shown to us by the global church, by our global partners, has empowered us and enabled us to care for others in concrete ways. We are grateful to God for our partners who are joining us in God’s restorative work in our communities.

This advent season is a good time to stop and reflect on God’s love that brought Him to this world and allowed us to become part of His family. It is also a good time to stop and reflect on whether we are faithful in mirroring His love. My prayer is that as we experience God’s love that our love for the people of the world grows.

Read Week Four – PEACE by Wailes Rangsa

Read Week Three – JOY by Maxon Mani

Go to Week One – HOPE by Ivor Poobalan