'Advent in a Time of AIDS': Joy, Suffering Contrast in Devotions Ahead of Christmas

(Photo Credit: Paul Jeffrey/Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)'Live the Promise: Advent in a Time of AIDS' devotional calendar for the season of Advent is seen in a screenshot from a document provided by the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.

As Christians in the Western tradition celebrate the coming of Christ with the start of the season of Advent on Sunday, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is launching a devotional calendar entitled "Live the Promise: Advent in a Time of AIDS" which includes daily devotions from 37 EAA members responding to HIV around the world.

Devotions begin a day before the start of Advent, which is World AIDS Day 2012, and run through Epiphany on January 6. The EAA calendar is available on the organization's website (http://advent.ecumenicaladvocacy.org/).

The calendar is a part of the organization's "Live the Promise" campaign, which seeks to hold individuals, religious leaders, faith organizations, governments and intergovernmental organizations accountable for the commitments they have made and advocates for further efforts and resources to respond to HIV and AIDS.

"Since AIDS was identified in the early 1980s, the joy of Advent has contrasted sharply with the suffering of millions of people, families and communities at the hands of this disease," the EAA calendar states in an introductory statement.

"Important progress has been made that makes an end to AIDS conceivable," the EAA notes. "We must continue to advocate that this progress is maintained and strengthened. Advent and AIDS both emphasize hope and the transformative power of love."

The devotions for each day include a verse, the author's reflection, a prayer, and a description of the charity worker and the organization they work for. Reflections include anecdotes of people with the disease, as well as words of encouragement, protest against misunderstandings, inspiration, lessons on Christian servant hood, thanks, reassurance, grace and hope, among others.

EAA has also offers the opportunity to receive the devotions by e-mail on a daily basis from December 1 to January 6.

"Readers will receive insights into this crucial work, as well as inspiration and challenge for their own actions and engagement in the HIV response," the EAA notes.

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