Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Advent's joyful hope (and my birthday wish).

Dear family, friends, and blog-readers,

In the middle of this hectic time of year, when many of us are busy decking the halls and crowding the malls in anticipation of the season of giving, I’d like to invite you to pause for a moment and consider the season already upon us: Advent.

Advent is the quiet liturgical season that gently carries us from Thanksgiving’s feasts to the excitement of Christmas morning, calling us to wait, watch, and prepare with joyful and expectant hope for God to break into the reality of our lives.  It looks back on what God has already done in the world through Christ, while also looking forward to Christ’s return.  I believe many of us feel this back-and-forth dynamic naturally at this time of year; as New Year’s Eve approaches, we reflect on the joys and challenges of the year past, and name our hopes and dreams for the year to come. 

For me, this reflective dynamic is even more present as I also look forward to my 25th birthday on December 15th.  As I think back on the past few years of being “in my twenties”, what marks this reflection is my year spent in Duran, Ecuador through the organization Rostro de Cristo.  Many of you have a sense of the impact this experience has had on my life (and perhaps followed my blog while I was there), and I can honestly say that not a day goes by that I am not filled with gratitude and affection for my time in Ecuador and the neighbors, friends, and children who were the ‘face of Christ’ to me. 

This past July I was able to visit Duran again, where I witnessed in a new and challenging way the endurance of the pain and suffering cause by poverty.  While my life has continued move forward and flourish, my friends in Ecuador (and millions of people around the world) remain fighting the daily battles against poverty and oppression in order to care for their family in the most basic ways.  The reality of their individual and collective lives truly embodies the spirit of Advent—a firm belief in the salvation already won by Christ, with a lived hope in the much-needed transformation of our world.

It is in this spirit of Advent that I am committing my 25th birthday to fundraising for Rostro de Cristo, that, rooted in faith and motivated by love, the work they do to participate in the transformation of our world might continue.   I invite you to prayerfully consider a donation of $25, in honor of my 25th birthday, or whatever you can afford at this time.  For some perspective-- $25 runs one of our after-school programs for a week; $50 provides a volunteer’s stipend for a month.  And, as a birthday gift to myself, I will match your donations, up to $250, because Rostro de Cristo is so special to me. 

To make it easy for you to donate online, I have created a website for my birthday wish.  Rostro de Cristo is a 501(c)3 non-profit and all donations are tax deductible (you will receive the tax form from the website).  I will keep the website active until Christmas day.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

Thank you for considering my birthday wish this year.  I know that your generosity will help bring Advent’s joyful hope to so many people in Ecuador, and I pray that the remaining days of Advent prepare us to welcome God into our lives.



P.S.  If you have an extra minute, please watch this two-minute video called Advent Conspiracy.  It can help us keep this “holiday season” in perspective.  Then, if you have any shopping left to do, check out Catholic Relief Services’ beautiful fair trade, handmade crafts!

1 comment:

Nancy Dallavalle said...


Many thanks for this opportunity to join you in supporting Rostro...Rob and I wish you a happy and hope-filled birthday...