As we prepare for the second Sunday of Advent, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reflects on the story of John the Baptist in light of the Imagine No Malaria Campaign.
Peace to you in this season of Advent.
The second Sunday in Advent, we focus upon John, who comes out of the wilderness proclaiming baptism for the repentance of sins. I hold in my hands two beautiful shells. These shells were picked up off the coast of North Carolina and if I hold them to my ear and listen very carefully, you know what I can hear. I hear the sound of the ocean.
Many of us have been at the manger many times; others of us are coming to the manger, this Christmas, for the very first time. Whether this is a familiar place to us, or a new place to us, it’s a place of drawing closer and closer to Jesus, who comes to us at Christmas.
The message of John, “repent, and believe,” resonates for us as we take our Advent journey.
One way we turn toward Christ more and more, is our own growth in generosity. During this season of Advent, we, together with all United Methodist people, will give generously toward Imagine No Malaria. This manger is covered with a mosquito net. In a very real sense, you see here the result of your generosity, for babies and children sleep under mosquito nets in Africa. They are protected from the mosquitos who carry this disease. When a child is bitten by a mosquito in Africa, they are very likely to die within two days.
Your gifts will make a difference. Thank you for the generous Advent and Christmas offering that you will receive this year.
May the peace of Christ be with you and with all who God loves.