Advent calendar prayer and reflection for 21 December

CAFOD Lost Family Portraits good news for refugee family

Mohammed, 45, found his lost daughter through a social media site

Our soul is waiting for the Lord. In him do our hearts find joy.

Psalm 32:2-3, 11-12, 20-21. R. vv.1,3

At times, it is overwhelming to consider all the struggles of our human family. Millions of women, men, and children are fleeing from war, persecution and poverty. And in our own lives and our own families, each of us has burdens to carry.

But Advent is a time when we are blessed with hope. In just a few days Christ, our hope, will be with us.

A journey of hope

Pope Francis said, “Hope is never still; hope is always journeying, and it makes us journey. This hope, which the Child of Bethlehem gives us, offers a destination [and] blessedness to those who trust in a merciful God.” (General Audience, December 2016).

In today’s gospel, Mary goes on a hopeful journey to see her cousin Elizabeth. They treasure the moment they meet. Elizabeth exclaims, “The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy” (Luke 1:39-45).

Inspired by Mary and Elizabeth, let us never let go of our hope and joy in Christ. Though we might walk through desolate valleys, God’s love will always be with us. 

"I am very happy"

Mohammed, 45, lives with his family in a refugee camp in Bekaa valley, Lebanon. Two years ago, Mohammed’s family was pictured in our Lost Family Portraits.

In the portrait, Mohammed stood with his wife, Warda, their children and their grandson. But one chair was empty, representing their missing eldest daughter, Reem. 

Recently, we heard some wonderful news. Mohammed found his beloved daughter through social media.

“Thank God we found her,” he said. “It had been four years that I didn’t know anything about her. My daughter found us.”

As Mohammed proudly shows photos of his daughter, he is bursting with joy.

“When we found out we spent two days speaking on the phone," he says. "She has a baby now with her husband. When we talked I found out that I was a grandfather. I am very happy, I am very proud.” 

Thanks be to God, who turned this family’s mourning into dancing. 

Advent prayer

Joyful God, we thank you for lifting our hearts and gifting us with gladness. We pray for all our sisters and brothers who are suffering, that they may know the closeness of your love. Amen.


Please sign our Share the Journey petition. We are asking our government to take a lead in developing international agreements which help families like Mohammed’s to stay together. Thank you.

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