Sharing Our Stories: December 20

Writer’s Name: Loida Divine

Writer’s Ministry: Pastor

Assigned Text: Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”

Word of the Week: Peace

In 1969 a war broke out between Honduras and El Salvador over border disputes. It was labeled “The Soccer War” because coincidentally our soccer teams were playing one another. The people got angry during the game and riots ensued. As a five-year-old I did not know all these details. What I do remember though is that we lived very close to the border with El Salvador. The town leadership asked all men to train for possible enemy attacks and my dad was one of those who attended training. For us children it seemed like an exciting thing until we started seeing the planes coming to bombard our town. When the town alarm would go off, everyone had to run and hide. We had been told exactly where to go (under the stairs) when we heard the alarms. While we never had a bomb hit our yard, a bomb did land about a block away and I saw the big hole where it had fallen. No one had been hurt, but there were a lot of dead chickens, shrapnel and metal around.

One of my most vivid memories of the Soccer War was witnessing the Honduran people, in anger, riot against the Salvadorians who lived in our community. They threw rocks at their homes and told them they had to leave. My parents, being pastors in a local church, opened the church as a refuge home for the Salvadorians. The towns’ people did not dare throw rocks at the church. I remember seeing children bleeding and men and women lined up in the hallways of the church and adjacent parsonage as people from the church tended to their wounds and prepared meals for them. It was kind of shocking for me to see this, but at the same time I had compassion especially for the children my own age who were there. Eventually transportation was arranged for them to be taken to El Salvador. War is never pretty, and children often don’t understand what is happening. This incident has remained in my mind. The helplessness of those in danger and the willingness of others to risk their lives to care for them. Even at a young age I could see the difference. Peace treaties were signed, and things went back to normal. The words of Isaiah remind us that real peace would come through a child who would be born in Bethlehem. Today, we are called to place our faith on the birth of that child born 2,000 years ago. The promise still proclaims truth, “His government and its peace will never end.” Today, in a world filled with strife, God offers His peace. Circumstances cannot rob us of the peace given by God. It is real and it is forever! 

Daily Prayer: Lord God, in the midst of this busy life, today I thank you for your peace offered to us. We thank you for the encouraging words of the prophet of Isaiah and we thank you that all your promises come true! Amen!  

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you remember an event that made you feel scared when you were a child? Were there adults there to assure you and bring some peace into your life?
  2. Think about your surroundings, do you have a child that you can encourage? Niece, nephew, grandchild, neighbor, or maybe even someone else’s niece, nephew, grandchild. Write a note and tell them you are praying for them!

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