Well, it has happened!
If you text a $10 donation to “Imagine No Malaria” between now and December 26th – simply text “MALARIA” to 27722 – you will receive a confirmation text and then a thank you text that includes a link to a picture of a burning candle.
I will be making one of those text donations on Christmas Eve during our worship service at First United Methodist Church and then I will be sharing the light of this “candle” as a present to the Christ child who came into the world to “heal the sick…” It is my small way of showing Jesus I am following him in the revolutionary movement to end malaria by 2015! It is a disease that can be defeated if we join him. (Granted, I have to borrow a phone for this one since I have already hit the monthly limit for donations via text! But that doesn’t matter…what matter is my gift to Jesus!)
My invitation to you is twofold but simple – share this light as you worship on Christmas Eve. (Just make the donation at an appropriate time in worship and share your “light” for all to see!) Maybe someone will ask you why and you can share the message with them…maybe others will join you as you share beforehand what you are going to do. Maybe, God will show up in the midst of this and light the world with these candles that show healing.
Also, if you can, please share this message with as many people as possible, however you wish (share on Facebook, send out as an email, tweet a link…I don’t care) prior to your Christmas Eve worship services. This blog is read by fewer than 100 people but those 100 know another 100 and so forth. Light has a tendency to spread and this is one time I hope and pray it will spread long and far.
My hope for First UMC Princeton is that we would light enough cell phone candles (27) to join the Holston Conference in their memorial of those killed in Newtown. We cannot do anything to bring back the lives lost their but we can stop another killer – Malaria!
Finally, I would like to thank the people at “Imagine No Malaria,” “mGive” and “United Methodist Communications” as well as a colleague in our Conference, Adam Cunningham, for helping to make this happen. These folks are true warriors in the battle against malaria and this shows that they are committed to seeing this disease eliminated by 2015. My prayers and my work is with them!
Today (and hopefully every Sunday during Advent) I will be sharing with you an Advent Study that has been prepared for us by our bishop, Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball.
I encourage you to not only use this devotional material at home, but also to follow the Advent Invitation at the end of each devotion. I would love to hear – in the comments – how following these invitations are encouraging you to have a different kind of Christmas this year.
BTW – I am “giving up” at least one gift this Christmas – both giving and receiving – in order to help “Imagine No Malaria” and the “Nothing but Nets” campaign. I will be sending the text message “MALARIA” to 27722 to donate $10 and I will be doing this during our worship time at First UMC each week during Advent. I truly believe that Christmas is about miracles for the world and one of my Christmas wishes is for this disease to be eradicated .
An Advent Study for the
Prepared for the Family and Friends of the West Virginia
Bishop Sandra L. Steiner Ball
Advent Service for our home
FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT THE PROMISE
THE READING: As we prepare to light the first candle on our Advent wreath, our thoughts go back to the promise of the coming of Jesus foretold by the prophets. As the followers of God waited for the day when
Jesus would come, they prepared themselves for the fulfillment of this promise. They had heard God speak through the prophets and could hardly wait for Jesus’ coming. Similarly, we find it difficult to wait for
Christmas. Let us take time to prepare ourselves for the promise of this great day.
THE SCRIPTURE: ISAIAH 9: 2,6
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon
his shoulder, and his name shall be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Light the first purple advent candle)
BISHOP SANDRA’S ADVENT CALENDAR INVITATION 2012
December 2: As we begin this Advent Season I will allow God to be involved in all my preparations and activities. I will use the home Advent service. I will listen for God’s voice daily.
December 3: This season I will worship as much as possible with my home congregation and community. I will commit to daily prayer at lunchtime seeking to see where God is at work and seeking to join God there.
December 4: I’ll remember that Jesus calls us to not lose our childlike faith in God. Today I will have some contact with children and allow myself to have fun with them on their level.
December 5: Bake (or buy) a Christmas treat and take it to a neighbor – Just to be a WV Blessing – sharing God’s love and care with someone else.
December 6: Today I will share a glory sighting, where I have seen God/Christ at work, with family and friends.
December 7: I will write a special “Good News” note to 2 persons I know to share just how much they are a blessing to me.
December 8: This day I will do something special for or with my family.