Sunday 20th December
The Extraordinary Gift of Hope: Advent Reflections
Written jointly by MWiB and All We Can, these reflections were originally printed in the Methodist Recorder, 27th November 2020. Our hope is that as you read, reflect and pray, you will get a glimpse into the life-transforming work of All We Can, an international development charity working to transform the lives of people living in marginalised communities around the world, and Methodist Women in Britain, a charity within the Methodist Church focusing on tackling issues of social justice and empowering women in churches and communities around the world. To find out more, visit:
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Hope is a constant need for the human condition. Without it there is no progress, no moving on. Through Advent there is hope in each day, combined with an expectation of something worthwhile. As we enter Advent with expectation and preparation, our prayer is that you will be filled afresh with the hope we find in Jesus.
(N.B. This reflection involves the lighting of a candle.)
Advent 4 – A Song of Joyful Hope
Songs sung joyfully in response to good news, or a hope fulfilled, are contagious. The joy is catching. Hope is affirmed.
Read: Luke 1: 46–55
Mary’s song, the Magnificat, as told in Luke is so striking in its tone of joy. This young woman bears the news of her unexpected pregnancy and her new role with a spirit of gratitude. Her soul sings. Her words are filled with hope. Would you react in the same way? Mary turns a seemingly shocking and difficult scenario into one where she can say, ‘from now on all generations will call me blessed.’ Her joy that God would use her is tangible.
In Uganda, with All We Can’s support, teenage mums are being helped to sing their own songs of hope. Training and materials are being provided for them to learn how to sew in order to earn a livelihood. Teenage mums becoming entrepreneurs allows them to support their families and transform their communities. In the midst of struggle, God’s hope brings a song of joy.
In the Nusirat Refugee Camp in Gaza, Palestine, young deaf women are being trained in embroidery, soap-making, and other skills, providing them with an income and enabling them to live more independently. This training has been enabled by a grant from MWiB as part of its work to raise awareness of hearing impairment issues.
For teenage mothers like Mary, and the girls in Uganda and young women in Palestine, hope can be very practical. Mary does all she is asked to do to bring the Son of God into the world, whilst teenage mothers like Maureen (pictured) do all they can to learn the skills they need to support their families.
What would your song of hope sound like? Perhaps you could write down your own song. What circumstances in your life can you turn into praises of joy? Where might you feel fearful but would like joyful hope instead?
As you light your candle, think about Mary, the teenage mothers in Uganda, and the deaf women in Nusirat, and the hope which abides in each story.
Light your candle
Pray: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. Lord God, help me to joyfully wait in anticipation for you. Amen.
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You can download the full series of Advent reflections here