THIS IS WHAT RELEVANT CHRISTIAN PRACTICE LOOKS LIKE, IN THIS PARTICULAR TIME AND PLACE ! It’s called “The Advent Conspiracy,” and it offers an alternative to what has, by default, become our frenetic, anxiety-drenched, out-of-balance approach to Christmas. If Christian churches have any hope of re-occupying their rightful place as agents of the life- and society-changing Way of Jesus, it will be because of a renewal in proclaiming and acting the deep truths of the “good news”: that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst, and that we are called to the work of transforming lives and relationships– not in a time to come, but now.
And when Christian churches are renewed in proclaiming and acting the deep truths of the gospel, The Advent Conspiracy is a model of what that will look like. It is unapologetic about loving Jesus, but it is neither doctrinaire nor fundamentalist. It raises concerns about our spiritual health, but does not resort to scare tactics. It recognizes that we are in the world, but provides suggestions about how to practically and faithfully not be of it– in other words, it’s realistic about both the world we live in, and how to engage that world without giving in to its life-draining logic.
Specifically, the Advent Conspiracy gives us four life-affirming things– not only to remember, but to do— in the weeks leading to Christmas: worship fully; spend less; give more; and love all. Each of these 4 is accompanied with practical suggestions so that, for example, “love all” doesn’t remain an unfulfilled sentimental abstraction, but gets bone and flesh through concrete action.
I highly recommend Advent Conspiracy. The website is http://ac.wcrossing.org/default.aspx?page=3684, and an excerpt and additional link are below.
Let’s re-claim Christmas for Jesus.
The concept behind Advent Conspiracy is simple…
Worship Fully It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.
Spend Less Before you think we’re getting all Scrooge on you, let us explain what we mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this: America spends an average of $450 billion a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? We’re asking people to consider buying ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season.
Looking for ways to give gifts that don’t cost a lot of money? Have a few ideas you’d like to share? Head to rethinkingchristmas.com today.
Give More God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?
Love All When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.