AS WE GO to press, violence again erupts in the Holy Land. In the season of Advent, we prepare for the birth of the Prince of Peace in a rough shelter in a Palestinian village and hear again God’s ancient promises first given to the Hebrew people. But all is not calm in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Gaza, or Ashkelon. The agitations of injustice and fear have turned a season of dreams into one of nightmares.
We all can fall prey to the temptation to control our destiny through coercive power rather than prayer and action rooted in God’s grace. In this issue, Julian Davis Reid turns to the nativity story — the story of a poor family living under military violence — for a powerful corrective to our toxic striving. For many around the world, especially those being forced from their homes, there is little opportunity for rest. As Reid writes, maybe “God is telling you that the violent systems that keep people from sleeping regularly need to be avoided if not altogether dismantled.” Stillness, rest, sleep — all can help us receive holy assurance and wisdom for the sake of our own well-being, the healing of a hurting world, and the glory of God.