Today's devotion is written by Diane Battilana:
Y is for Year
The Jewish Passover Seder is a festive ritual meal at which family and friends gather to recount the ancient Israelites' Exodus from Egypt and their deliverance from bondage into freedom. No, it’s not really connected with Advent or Christmas and is more associated with the Last Supper, but there are some similarities. Both holidays have a very pronounced family/food/tradition emphasis in addition to the religious festival. In addition, Passover is a celebration and remembrance of freedom while Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus who frees us from our sins.
The traditional Seder ends with the words “Next Year in Jerusalem.” As the final moment in the Seder, it’s emotionally meaningful, and it completes the Seder’s journey from a reminder of the suffering and oppression of the past (and present) to anticipation for wholeness and freedom for all in the future. When the Jewish people had no homeland, when they were undergoing unimaginable pain and suffering, when they thought they might be totally wiped out, this would have been an especially poignant lament but still fervent hope; someday they would be free to celebrate in Jerusalem once again. Now that the hope has become a reality and celebration in Jerusalem is possible once more this phrase can be a message and hope for us all.
Jerusalem can symbolize all of those things that we lament but fervently hope for.
Next Year I will celebrate the holidays with my family and friends and church family as I have previously done.
Next Year I will seek forgiveness and unity even as I forgive those with whom I have become estranged.
Next Year violence against women, children, those with a non-traditional gender identity will be past history.
Next Year there will be racial and social justice.
Next Year there will be true peace on earth.
Next Year in Jerusalem!