The Tearfund Christmas appeal this year is themed “hope is born” – pointing to the “good news” and the reason for “great joy” that marks our celebration of the birth of Jesus.
We rejoice at Christmas that Emmanuel has come. God is with us. What greater reason for both hope and joy could there be!
“Hope is born” also points to the impact of the work that Tearfund supports. With our priority to work in places where the challenges of poverty and justice are at their greatest, we regularly see hugely important seeds of hope that are planted through the projects we support.
From my many years living and working in Africa I learned first-hand the important role of hope in any work of transformative development. Without it, people and communities often find themselves slipping into despair and complacency… and at worst fatalism. Hope is an essential ingredient for people in the grips of poverty to have the vision and inspiration that change is not only possible; it is worth working for.
“Hope is born” is also a way for Tearfund to talk about the projects we support for mothers and infants. With each baby born that has been part of a project to ensure a healthy life, hope is born for the next generation.
In Somalia, hope is born when infants can enjoy better nutrition and their mums have safe and welcoming spaces to meet with other women and share and learn. Our partner Medair is bringing hope in this hard place.
In Papua, where malnutrition rates are high, hope is born when – with support from our partner Yasera – women learn about good nutrition and hygiene so that every mother and child in the community can live a healthier life and prevent disease.
And hope is born in Laos, where our partner World Renew Laos trains women to be traditional birth attendants, supporting them to deliver safely at home, but also recognising situations where it would be safer to give birth in a health facility.
Scripture tell us that we have a God of abundant hope. Jesus was a living expression of this hope – healing, restoring, freeing. Our local Christian partners continue this ministry of reconciliation through their hope-filled projects.
This Christmas season I encourage you to think about how you too can be people of hope: perhaps making a daily commitment (like your own living Advent calendar) to look for ways to be people that put hope into tangible expression. Being people of hope for your loved ones, for your community, and for those on the margins both locally and globally. Supporting Tearfund’s Hope is Born campaign can be one of those ways to build hope!
May God bless your holiday season – my prayer for you is that it be a time filled with hope and joy.