Friday, December 01, 2006

On the first day of advent...

Today is the first day of advent. A time of anticipation and excitment for many Christians. We have but 24 days left until we get ready to celebrate the "prince of peace",born in an 'umble shed to parents not of ruling but people class. By coincidence(?) today is also World Aids Day. In terms of global pandemics and diseases Hiv/Aids gets all the headlines. In its deadly form (Aids) it slowly breaks down the immune system of the person leaving them unable to resist any virus. The World Health organisation estimated (in January 2006) that between December 1981 and Jan 06 more than 25million people had been killed by the disease. The number may not seem that huge but consider that the numbers killed has been rising each year therefore the numbers are now at frighteningly high levels (2005 saw 2.4-3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 were children, die of the disease). Therefore many people have rightly bought a ribbon today to support the work that is going on. Yet I would urge everyone to consider those who are on the ground doing the work. We in the global north are very good at donating (often blindly - ie without following through our donation and expecting reports back) but few of us ever go out to countries affected and do on the ground work. From Street Children to HIV/Aids, the world is a much less pleaseant place then we imagine it to be - or than we experience in our lives around us. Whilst we must always do our best to do what we can we must never forget to remeber those who are around the world, where the need is often more exagerated and the differences more startling, living out what they believe. I am never sure quiet how I would cope out "in the field" (as some Development people phrase it). I have been to India, Kenya and South Africa and seen both remarkable people and extreme poverty. Often living side by side and people by people. The world has a remarkable way of uniting extremes together, often by soci-geographical measures and changing all around. As a Christian ( sorry it'll make sense in a moment) I have also been challenged by the way the bible inspires many people to drop everything and go. Indeed I have quiet admiration and wish I would be more willing to do it sometimes. For though you may not go out to "proclaim the gospel" people go out to live out the gospel, as they percieve it, which I think is one of the most exciting concepts ever. To go and live out what you belive, change those around you by doing so (not evangelism or conversion but values and quality of life wise) leaves me to just take my hat off in utmost respect. Take Care y'All John

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