December 2, 2013
By Suzanne Rumsey
Week of December 1 (Advent 1)
Scripture: Luke 1: 39-45 – Mary Visits Elizabeth (NRSV)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
PWRDF Story: The Joy of a Healthy Baby, by Gillian Hoyer, PWRDF Youth Council member
Over the last few weeks, three of my friends have had babies. It has been so exciting to see the joy on the faces of the new moms and dads as they meet their little ones for the first time, as well as the joy of the extended family and friends that receive the new child. Smiles dance on everyone’s face when we see the healthy faces and see the infants wriggle with new life. In Advent we are waiting on the birth of another child, one for whom angels sang. We joyfully celebrate this new life.
But what if they were not born healthy? The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) partners with the Keiskamma Trust to provide health programs for mothers and babies in and around Hamburg, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
In an area where 30-40% of adults and approximately one in three pregnant mothers are HIV positive, proper health care and support can mean the difference between a healthy, HIV negative baby or one who is HIV positive and will have to live on medications for the rest of its life. The doctors and community health workers of the Keiskamma Trust work tirelessly to educate mothers and mothers-to-be in the community, providing the medications and the support that they need to be able to joyfully welcome a new, healthy baby into their family.
How do you think the work of Keiskamma Trust brings joy to the communities it serves? What or who brings you joy? How are you able to share joy with others in your life?
As the hand is made for holding and the eye for seeing,
You have fashioned me for joy.
Share with me the vision that finds that joy everywhere.
In the wild violet’s beauty;
In the lark’s melody;
In the face of a steadfast man;
In a child’s smile;
In a mother’s love;
In the purity of Jesus.
A. Maclean, Hebridean Altars, Moray Press, Edinburgh, 1937