Greetings! December marks the first Sunday of Advent and it is also World AIDS Day.
The first Sunday of Advent marks the first Sunday of the church calendar year. I think it is fitting that the first Sunday of Advent, which is a time of joy and anticipation of the coming of the Savior, and World AIDS Day fall upon the same day.
For those whose spiritual journey follows the Christian tradition, Advent is a season of preparation. It is a time we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus, the Savior. Hopefully our preparation brings about spiritual transformation for the new calendar year that is about to begin.
During Advent, there is a transformation in what we see, smell, hear, eat, and do. We decorate our homes, try new recipes, bake cookies, invite friends over, attend holiday parties, wrap gifts and watch our favorite holiday movies. (One of my favorites is Jim Carey’s version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and I enjoy some of the classics too!)
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the preparations that we neglect to reflect upon what we are truly preparing for — to welcome Emmanuel, ‘God with us’ — Jesus, the Light of the World. The One who came to show the way of love, the One who brought light into the world to dispel the darkness. The One whose example, when followed, brings about transformation to our lives and ultimately our world.
We have Advent, a time of preparation and World AIDS Day a reminder not to forget or neglect all of the lives lost to this disease and to honor those who are still living with it. And not just those who are infected but those who are affected by HIV/AIDS. It is a time to remember that our work is not finished in getting rid of the stigma that is associated with this disease. Our work is not finished until a cure is found.
If our Advent preparations are successful, the transformation that happens in us can last beyond the season and should last beyond the season! That transformation can be life-changing not only for us, but ultimately our world. We become the light of love to a world that is often dark, lonely, and fearful. We don’t have to look further than our own neighborhoods to witness the negativity, the prejudices, and the stigma that is present.
All of us, including those who may not be on a spiritual path that acknowledges Advent or Christmas, can choose to be light in a dark world. We can all make a difference by shining forth the light of love in our communities. We can speak to injustices, prejudices and all ways of hate and evil and shine forth the light of love that will ultimately dispel that Darkness.
It is my prayer that during this busy holiday season, but part of our preparations will be a spiritual preparation and a spiritual anticipation of the arrival of Jesus, the light of the world! And may our preparations and the transformations we make, last well beyond this holy season. And may we choose to be a light of love to our world.
Church of Our Savior MCC