A tad later than planned, this is my second of five Advent posts.
The story of the book of Exodus is probably fairly well known to most "Western" adults; it's even been the subject of a Disney film (Prince of Egypt).
In it, Moses leads his people out of pretty harsh slavery in Egypt with the help of a considerable amount of divine intervention from God. There's comedy and deep tragedy; when the first-born Egyptians all die.
After 40 years in the desert (a delay caused by their own disobedience to God's instructions), they arrive in Canaan, the Promised Land. It's the start of a long story involving Temples, exiles and a lot of idol worshipping (even Solomon ends up doing it).
Giving a dedicated area of the world to his "own" people is one of God's most noticeable gifts. The fact he didn't renege on it despite the number of times the Israelites annoyed him is a true testament to his mercy.
We will soon have a new Promised Land; the Kingdom of Heaven - and it will be open to anyone who believes.