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Can There Be Beauty For The Ashes In Bethlehem?


“No Moses in Siege"

On July 16, 2014, four boys—aged between nine and fourteen—were killed by Israeli naval fire while playing soccer on a beach in Gaza City.

Was it because there were no more graves in Gaza

that you brought us to the beach to die?

Was it because rubbling us in our houses,

like our cousins, like our futures, like our gods,

would be a bore?

Was it because our cemeteries need cemeteries and

our tombstones need homes?

Was it because our fathers needed more grief?

We were limbs in the wind,

our joy breaking against the shore.

Soccer ball in between our feet

we were soccer in between their feet.

No place to run. No Moses in siege.

Waves stitched together, embroidered, weaved

un-walkable, indivisible, passage—implausible,

on most days we weep in advance.

We looked up to the clouds, got up on clouds.

Here, we know two suns: earth’s friend and white phosphorus.

Here, we know two things: death and the few breaths before it.

What do you say to children for whom the Red Sea doesn’t part?”


Mohammmed el-kurd


Can There Be Beauty For The Ashes In Bethlehem?

In this sacred season of Advent, we are called to contemplate the profound transformation from 'beauty from ashes,' a journey that requires our active engagement. Unlike the notion of 'beauty for ashes,' which suggests a transactional exchange, 'beauty from ashes' implies a deeper, more participatory process. It emerges from our capacity to reflect, remember, and cling to hope. This is not about merely trading one for the other; it's about extracting beauty from the very depths of our despair.

This process is central to our sense of identity, which, much like beauty, is conjured, not conferred. Mary, in her lowliness, with no status or power, gave voice to this through the Magnificat. Her song is a testament to the transformative "so what" of God – a divine assertion that uplifts the lowly and fills the hungry with good things. It's a reminder that our identity in God's eyes is not determined by our social status but by our inherent worth as His creation.

In a world marred by injustice and suffering, in a world where innocence is shattered on the battleground of empire-laden ideology, the Magnificat speaks to us with renewed urgency. It calls us to recognize the Christ born in and of the ashes in Bethlehem, and to understand that Advent is not just about passive waiting but active participation in God's work.

Let us conjure a hope that drips with the Magnificat's resonating cry for the downtrodden. Let us commit ourselves to be part of God's transformative action in the world. As we await and remember the birth of Christ, let our actions reflect this calling – in our pursuit of justice, in our offering of compassion, in our standing alongside those who suffer.

This Advent, let us rekindle the flame of hope and let it illuminate the darkness of our world. Let us demand, with every action and every prayer, that beauty can and will arise from the ashes of despair and suffering. Let our lives be a living Magnificat, echoing Mary's song of praise and justice, and embodying the promise of beauty from ashes.

As we move through this Advent season, let us hold fast to the belief that our engagement and participation in God's work can bring forth beauty from the most unlikely places. Let us be the instruments through which the divine promise is fulfilled, working tirelessly to transform the ashes of our world into the beauty of God's kingdom. Let us demand, with faith and action, that beauty will indeed arise, and let this hope guide us in our journey towards Christmas and beyond.


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