A Courageous Confession of Hope

Becca De Souza reflects on the hope and blessing of Jesus' birth in bringing healing, freedom and rejoicing to our common home.


For our fifteenth Advent 2023 devotional, Becca De Souza reflects on the hope and blessing of Jesus' birth in bringing healing, freedom, and rejoicing to our common home.

A Courageous Confession of Hope


In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

Luke 1:39-45



Yesterday I was with a labouring woman in our local hospital, a young mother who had fled her home country because of devastating war. Giving birth in exile, her body carried the hope and promise of new life, as well as the trauma of violence and displacement. The contractions were manageable at first, then required focus and comfort measures and then hours of teetering on the very edge of her existence. Her mother read passages from the Quran, prayed to God for mercy and comfort, and massaged her daughters back hour after hour. She wiped her face, braided her hair, encouraged her to not give up. Her mother knew the pain of not only birth, but of raising a child in a violent world.

With every hour the relentless waves of pain pounded, the separation thinned and the grief of all the world’s mothers found voice in her groans. It seemed completely hopeless and impossible, that she should resign herself to endless contractions - and then - her beloved baby boy arrived in her arms. 

Children are one of the most courageous confessions of hope we can offer. 

When we are pragmatic in our conclusions and do the maths on climate catastrophe, nuclear weapons, white supremacy, the very present colonisation of First Nations peoples - having a child is one of the most reckless, senseless things we can do. Why create new life when our common home rings with the continual drumbeats of war and suffering seems a guarantee?  

In Luke’s gospel account, we have two pregnant cousins meeting each other; most artistic renditions neglect the prominent age gap. Imagine Elizabeth as an elderly aunty with the secrets of survival in the lines on her face and hands, and Mary a very young teenager full of imagination and passion. Elizabeth’s age meant she was unlikely to see meaningful change in the world in the years she had left, and Mary was too young to know the consequences of carrying a dangerous hope. While her own dream of motherhood was yet to be born, Elizabeth rejoiced, she spoke courage and assurance into her young cousin. “The child you carry inside you will bring great blessings to all people.” Elizabeth had lived into her old age under military occupation and colonial rule and still she believed a new world filled with justice and peace was on its way. I’m sure she recalled the prophet Isaiah’s words, that one day we will not labour in vain, or bear children doomed for destruction. Her radical vision of eschatological healing expanded beyond just her people, to all people of the world. 

Elizabeth and Mary stand with the 50,000 pregnant mothers in Gaza who are courageously carrying new life in the face of military occupation and aerial bombardment. They stand with Aboriginal mothers and aunties in these lands now called Australia, who have heard the thousandth violent “no” of empire and are still loving their babies and protecting culture in hope of a better world. They give courage to those of us parenting with trauma and mental illness and still trying to break cycles of violence and apathy. 

Both mothers lost their sons to state-sanctioned violence, and yet this story of their rejoicing in pregnancy remains. Elizabeth and Mary remind us that when it feels reckless to celebrate and encourage new life in all of its forms, that’s when it’s most desperately needed. When we hear only the drumbeats of war, that’s when we sing. We wash baby clothes, boil water, write letters, protest, and pray. We trust with wild abandon that one day all the world’s pain will give birth to freedom, healing, and joy. 



Becca De Souza lives on Dharawal Country, works as a trauma-informed doula/birth educator and with Central Church Port Kembla. She was raised on Turtle Island and is a Shawnee descendant.



This devotional is the fifteenth in a series of daily email devotionals for Advent 2023. This year's series reflects on the longing, hope, and beauty of God’s ‘Common Home’ being realised, revealed, and renewed through the birth of Jesus.

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Sophia Lizares
Sophia Lizares 2023-12-15 19:20:18 +1100

Thank you so much for this grounded and courageous message, Becca!

Lee Vassella
Lee Vassella 2023-12-15 08:05:19 +1100

Thankyou Becca. For these words and for the work that you are doing.

Advent: Common Home