In the midst of the season of Advent, the ONE Campaign is asking us to make ONE Big Noise.
Wait a minute.
Isn't Advent supposed to be a quiet time of reflection and hope?
As Dennis Bratcher says in CRI/Voice, "Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing."
Preparation, anticipation, longing. These are all quiet activities.
So what's this ONE Big Noise all about?
Well, Advent is also identified with the ranting voice of John the Baptist, who appeared in the desert proclaiming "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths." (Mark 1:3).
Our preparation to receive the Lord also calls for us to reflect on injustices around us and respond appropriately.
As Bratcher goes on to say: "There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!"
So in that spirit, I welcome the call by The ONE Campaign to Make ONE Big Noise. We are asked to lift our voices to President George W. Bush asking him to ensure that the Doha Round of trade talks for the World Trade Organization places a priority on fighting poverty by making trade fair. The latest WTO summit under the Doha Round is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Hong Kong.
Many local groups and communities around the world involved in the Make Poverty History campaign will underscore this request to President Bush and all world leaders by holding a rally or some other special event on Saturday, Dec. 10, which has been designated as International White Band Day.
But I fear that we risk losing the spirit of Advent if we concentrate just on "Making ONE Big Noise." We must not forego the reflection and hope that comes with the season.
Therefore, I would propose that we think of our response more as ONE Big Light, and not as much as ONE Big Noise. Advent is a time to light candles. A time that we stay still. If we each light our individual candles at home, we can all become ONE Big Light of hope for the poor of the World.
Advent is especially symbolized by hope, which is what our One Campaign and Make Poverty History white wrist bands represent. So we can also celebrate the season by joining our individual white bands to become ONE Big White Band.
[Note: The ONE Campaign banner pictured above was a cooperative effort by two Albuquerqueans: award-winning designer Maggie MacNab of Macnab Design and photographer Pat Berrett. Heidi Brooks, Roxanne Allen & Louisa Streng from the local RESULTS group also provided input on the design of the banner]