Here is another cool on-line Advent calendar. The Ecumenical Advisory Alliance, a worldwide ecumenical network of denominations, church relief agencies and ecumenical organizations, have developed a web-based Advent calendar featuring daily meditations, readings and photographs. Many of the reflections are written by people living with AIDS.
Todays meditation is found here. It is written by Kay Warren, Executive Director of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Here is a sample:
People whose lives have been touched by HIV and AIDS are desperately in need of hope. Hope for access to good medical treatment and life-saving medication. Hope for being surrounded by a caring community who will offer support. But most of all, hope that this life is not all there is - that there is a better world waiting for all who have put their trust in God's gift of salvation.
Each day that passes brings us one step closer to finally receiving all that has been promised to us. Even in our brokenness, we know that one day all sorrow, sadness, and sickness will be over. These bodies that are so weak now will be restored to full health, and joy will return. That's a hope to hold onto!
God of all hope, help us to hold on to the promise of your salvation. Amen.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance describes itself as "a broad ecumenical network for international cooperation in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS."
More than 100 churches and church-related organizations have joined the Alliance by committing themselves to "speak out with one voice against injustice, to confront structures of power, practices and attitudes which deprive human beings of dignity and to offer alternative visions based on the Gospel." This commitment to joint action brings with it enormous strength and responsibility.
The Alliance has identified the HIV and AIDS pandemic as one of the gravest challenges to health and also to the prospects of social and economic development and global security. The campaign, "Keep the Promise." holds individuals, religious leaders, faith organizations, governments and intergovernmental organizations accountable for the commitments they have made and advocates for further efforts and resources to fight HIV and AIDS. The campaign works to protect the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS, promote an attitude of care and solidarity which rejects all forms of stigmatization and discrimination, and advocates for access to necessary forms of treatment as well as expand efforts for education and prevention.