Today’s Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

The meeting started with a video.  A teenage girl dressed all in black, with a black mask covering her entire face, stood quietly waiting for questions.

The interviewer, a woman with a gentle and reassuring voice, started asking questions.

Interviewer: Do your parents know you are out here?

Girl: No, I usually tell them that I am having dinner out with friends.

Interviewer: How many times have you been out here?

Girl: Every time. Since the beginning.

Interviewer (slight pause): Aren’t you afraid your parents will find out?

Girl (quietly): I know this is what I have to do. I have to fight for our future.

The sharing session was organized by people from the Hong Kong diaspora living in Chicago. Such gatherings that shared information from the “frontlines,” showed support for the protestors, and raised funds to send supplies to the protestors, were happening all over the world on this late September day.

The recorded interview with the teenage girl was followed by a live interview through video with another masked protester, followed by an in-person live-interview with a different protester—masked and wrapped from head to toe in black—who had just returned from Hong Kong. Some interviews were in Cantonese and some in English. There was a young woman at the front who provided English summaries of the Cantonese conversations.

Chinese characters say: “Chi(cago) Supports Hong Kong.” Photo courtesy of the author.

The audience was a mix of students, professionals, and retirees. Several parents brought babies and toddlers. The room was part of a progressive Chinese church’s meeting space. On the pillars were words such as “Justice for Hong Kong is justice from God,” “Our prayers are for peace for Hong Kong.”

Just like people in Isaiah’s time and people in Mary and Joseph’s time, the people in this room are waiting for a light to pierce the darkness, for a force to increase the joy for a place they love, for a comforter to relieve the yoke of their burden, for peace that would burn the boots of warriors.

Isaiah 9:6 says “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders, and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus’ birth more than 2,000 years ago was supposed to bring peace everlasting and joy to the earth. So why is there still darkness and struggle? When will there be peace throughout the world?

Protestors in Hong Kong long for freedom and a life in which they can make more decisions for themselves, while those defending the government long for comfort and a life in which there are few disruptions because other people are making decisions they are willing to follow. People long for someone to deliver them, a Savior to make everything go right. 

But does such a person really exist? Instead, we are often disappointed by leaders when we entrust authority. Often these leaders abuse their powers or are out of touch of what ordinary people really need. So who can we turn to? If we turn instead to God for deliverance, can we be bold and claim the victory that has already been won when Jesus Christ was born, and when He made the ultimate sacrifice to bring peace once and for all? How can we be bold in pursuing justice and peace? 

Reader Response

1. Think of a time in your life that you struggled with life challenges and longed for relief and peace. What did it feel like?

2. Are you longing for peace right now?

3. What would it look like for you to have everlasting peace? What would you do to help make it happen? How can we (PAAC) as a community pursue peace?

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  • Grace (she/her/hers) is executive director of a civic education and community mobilization organization in Chicago. Born in Hong Kong, she still keeps in touch with her home city via family and friends. She and her husband Tom have been married for 28 years and have four young adult children. When she is not working or volunteering, she can be found singing, cooking, baking, reading, and crafting.