You’ll be reading this column after the World AIDS Day service takes place, but I’m writing this as I prepare for the occasion. My role is to open the service and invite the participation of those who gather this Dec. 1 to remember and to bring hope to those living with HIV/AIDS. For some reason, the phrase “Mark this day!” continues to challenge me and to cause me to think about 2009 coming to a close and 2010 beginning in just a few weeks.
It is the holidays, and most of us are busy with holiday preparations, regardless of what tradition we celebrate. This month is one of the few where almost every religious system and even those who worship only nature’s cycles find commonality of celebration and remembrance. It has also become the month when, throughout the world, we pause to remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and to renew our commitment to care for those who live with the disease and to help with education to remind us not to grow weary in caring about one another.
So as I prepare the opening statements for the World AIDS Day service, I am asking those gathered to say, “Mark this day and remember.” Each day is significant, just as each month is important. But in December, as the hours of sunlight wane, it gets easy to get bogged down in surviving and getting through the holidays rather than celebrating them. I know I sometimes get that way about many things in my life and activities. I have to fight to keep focused and not simply get caught up in the activity of getting by.
I say “Mark this day!” because I believe that each day is special and we don’t get this day back again. To simply use it as a way to get to tomorrow cheapens the opportunity we have to live for today. “Mark this day!” because we each make a choice whether to celebrate it or muddle through it. “Mark this day!” because tomorrow might not be ours and we must not squander the day we have now.
If you are making New Year’s resolutions this year, I hope you’ll consider declaring “Mark this day!” your resolution and treat this day like your favorite winter holiday. Give a gift you really want someone to have, call or write those long-lost friends and relatives or just help out those who need help today. And should we all do that, our community will be one that everyone will want to belong to – regardless of their orientation. Those connections are important when we need support and understanding.

My commitment for next year is to write regularly for Camp and to answer your spiritual questions. I do come to all spiritual questions from a Christian viewpoint, but I am willing to find out about those things I don’t know, and I can always ask for help from those who have a different background than I do. Of course, I won’t be able to answer all questions in 12 columns, but I will try to take the most-asked questions and approach them with hope-filled answers.
I will “Mark this day!” by helping us focus on how important each day is to our lives and our community.
The Rev. Kurt Krieger is the pastor of Spirit of Hope Metropolitan Community Church in Kansas City, Mo.

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