Advent Reflection Series

4 December 2023

Advent Reflection Series

Amidst this current darkness in the Holy Land, you are invited to join in solidarity with the Bethlehem community and share in a weekly Advent reflection by incoming Vice Chancellor Brother Hernán Santos. 



In the Christian life, especially in the Catholic Church, we have two great feasts during the year: Easter and Christmas. Because of their relevance to faith, each of these feasts has a time of preparation. Lent prepares for Easter and Advent prepares for Christmas. During Advent, we are invited to contemplate four biblical characters who mark the meaning of active waiting for the Lord. These characters are Isaiah, John the Baptist, St. Joseph, and the Virgin Mary. 

We want to approach these figures by making a reading of faith from the reality that we live as a community of Bethlehem University in a context particularly complex and difficult. May these snippets of reflection help us to prepare for the coming of Jesus in our hearts, our families and, in particular, in the Holy Land, where today more than ever it is necessary to establish a time of lasting peace based on equal rights for all.


Week One: Isaiah. A Prophetic Word for this Time of Uncertainties


Isaiah 11:1-9 






Isaiah is one of the most important prophets in Israel's history. His prophetic community spans several generations, and his writings testify to the journey of faith that the people of Israel had to make in times of uncertainty. The voice of the prophet announcing the coming of the Messiah resonates particularly during Advent. In one of the most beautiful texts of Isaiah, in the so-called Book of Immanuel, the descendant of David is spoken of, in which the hope of a people and the reestablishment of a new order for all creation are concentrated. 

Today as in the past, in these times of uncertainty and sorrow caused by many lives lost during the war in the Holy Land, Isaiah invites us to focus our faith on the fragile sprout of hope. Let us ask the God of Life, that we may be protagonists of a culture of peace, based on our shared humanity. The "God with us" (Immanuel), promised by Isaiah, will be a righteous person who will not build his judgments based on appearances and will be a hope for those who hope for a better time. 

Today as in the past, the voice of the prophet and the promise of a total restoration of creation continue resounding in which no creature will hurt another, no person will harm another. The cessation of hostilities and fire is, certainly, within the horizon of our faith. Re-establishing dialogue based on brotherhood is needed today, more than ever. Isaiah's prophecy continues to challenge us to be a voice of hope amid uncertainty. 



Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!'
— Henri J.M. Nouwen 


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