As we count down to Jesus’ birthday in the season of Advent, we remember the miraculous encounters of two thousand years ago. “Don’t be afraid,” an angel says—to Mary, to Elizabeth and Zechariah, to the shepherds…
At the same time, we also make room for the radical, countercultural messages that Christ brings. Jesus—and the prophets before him—challenged structures of discrimination and oppression, and announced that God’s kin-dom of peace and justice is at hand. So it is fitting that as December begins, a number of days call on people of goodwill to work together for the mending of the world:
World AIDS Day, December 1: Join communities around the world to remember those we have lost to the disease, and stand in solidarity with people who are affected by HIV and AIDS.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3: An occasion to explore theologies of disability and how church and society can become open, accessible, and barrier-free, with full participation of people with disabilities.
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 6: Consider taking action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and demanding an end to gender-based violence and showing your solidarity with all people who bear the scars of violence. The World Council of Churches invites this solidarity every Thursday through its #thursdaysinblack campaign. Consider making that a regular practice on every Thursday in Advent.
As we get ready for Christ(mas), let’s be sure to ready for God’s kin-dom of justice and peace. In God’s story, we all have a part.
In hope and solidarity,
Alydia Smith is Program Coordinator, Worship, Music, and Spirituality for The United Church of Canada.