FRIDAY 14 DECEMBER // Hope for Aotearoa
We live in a broken and hurting world. A world that has lost sight of hope. A report from July shows that Aotearoa has the highest youth suicide rates in the OECD, and in 2017 the number of kiwis who have taken their own lives was the highest since records began, and the trend shows that number is only increasing. This is heart breaking. That so many cannot see an alternative way out of the darkness.
As we wait for the things we hope for it can be easy to get discouraged, to feel like things will never get better or change. But we are called to have a hope that is bold, fueled by our faith that God is working away in the background towards a time where all humanity and the whole universe will be rescued from evil and death. It isn’t optimism based on odds; it’s a choice to wait for God to bring about a future of shalom (wholeness/completeness) in His perfect timing.
Christmas can be a particularly hard time for people, whether it’s from financial pressure, a crammed social calendar, triggers of grief for loved ones no longer with us or feelings of loneliness and isolation while the world celebrates… This Advent let’s take the time to consciously choose how we interact with others. Let’s extend hope through kindness, because we cannot know what another person is going through, what they are struggling with, and how much effort is going into maintaining that public ‘smile’.
Read: Romans 12:12-14
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Pray: Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your prayer time today as you hold the people in our community and land. Allow the Spirit to give you the words. Pray for Godly grace to extend to all those you interact with this month as you go about your pre-Christmas preparations.
Respond: On your Advent calendar colour in today’s bauble, you might also like to include a scripture reference or note what God is speaking to you about