December, 2022 Monthly Reflection

Lights of Hope in the Darkness

Anne Victory, HM

The time has just changed from daylight savings to standard time for many across the world, and in the northern hemisphere, the days are shorter, darker, and in some regions, colder. World, national and local events seem to add to the darkness and cold as we are inundated with news stories about war, violence, political divisions, hostile rhetoric about the “other,” climate disasters, and those millions who are left out in the cold, both literally and figuratively. All of these have the potential to increase the crime of human trafficking. Often the ones who suffer from this devastating and pernicious crime are being blamed for their own plight. It’s easy for them—and for all who long to help—to become overwhelmed, even to the point of despair.

By contrast, we are beginning the season of Advent, a time of waiting in darkness and hope for the Promised One. The longing is palpable! The visions of a world without weapons of war and flourishing lands, deserts full of blooms, and bright light in the seemingly endless gloom.

Are these promises for our world today, too? What are the signs of hope? When will the oppressed go free? Where is the light? In reflecting on the Scriptural promises, I have become aware that the Promise is both “now” and “not yet.” Our God is both among us and also is coming in fullness. This Advent “in-between time” calls us to participate in bringing the light, the hope, and the promise to fulfillment.

Perhaps a place to begin is to recognize some signs of hope that have become apparent over the past decade or so in the work to end human trafficking. Many more people have become aware of this pressing issue and acknowledge that it is occurring in our world, our nation, and our neighborhoods. So many individuals and groups are now working together and shining a light to raise awareness of this crime, intervene in healing ways, and advocate for just laws and services for those who have been trapped in the vice of criminal enterprises for forced labor and commercial sex. Strides have been made to connect disciplines and businesses, inviting them to bring their expertise to the table so that those affected receive needed treatment in a manner that respects their dignity and does no further harm to them as persons. National and international networks have grown to provide needed resources of credible information, shared expertise, and ways to get help and care for those who suffer from this crime. Many are beginning to see the connections between poverty, forced migration, climate change, discrimination, and other critical social issues and the crime of human trafficking.

Is there more to do? Of course? Can we do better? Certainly! Let us continue to build strong relationships with one another and with those who share a vision of ending human trafficking. Let us strive to be light-bearers, bringers of hope, signs of the Promised One among us in the face of a suffering world.