received this email from a former student yesterday, a timely reminder
Dear Friends and Family,
This advent, I am preparing for something more than Christmas; I am preparing to be a part of a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation to Palestine/Israel in January. Much of the preparatory reading for the trip has included reflections on the first Christmas. The birth of Jesus took place during a time of empirial occupation of the land of Palestine- a reality that has long been the history of this place. The location of Jesus’ birth was dictated by those who were in power. Far from her home, in rude circumstance, Mary gave birth to her son. As one looks to Palestine today, these circumstances seem enhanced in some way. Today, Mary may not have been able to get as far as Bethlehem as checkpoints and the “wall” block her way. She may have given birth along side the road as she waited for permission to pass or faced a roadblock on her way. This holiday, please keep the people of Palestine and Israel in your fervent prayers for peace.
Please keep me in your prayers as well as I prepare to return to Palestine. In 2001, I studied in the Middle East as part of my college experience. At that time, the second Intifada was at its beginning. I was struck by the reality of occupation and its consequences. I was shaken and left questioning. Upon leaving, I did not know that I would return, but since, I have long known that I would. For me this journey is more than a trip for learning and companioning, it is one for discernment as I seek to learn how/if I am being called to nonviolent direct action.
Know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers this holiday season.
With much love and with hope of peace,
Hope you’ll join me in keeping Marie in prayer