UPDATE: my friend Chris Barras leads the Area 10 Church in Richmond and is actually going to be doing a series of messages (11/30, 12/07, 12/14, 12/21) on just this topic! Awesome… and the audio should be available online here afterwards…
I don’t get the whole term ‘advent’. It just speaks to me as one of those religious terms that makes me think of the Catholic church… anyway, some people out there think there is a conspiracy about it … or something like that.
The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.
And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?
Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.
The video is a really good explanation, but what does this mean and how would you ‘apply’ this if you even wanted to for you and your family? Jim (who beat me to the punch on posting it…) wrote about this on his ‘Christmas is not my birthday’ post for what he’s going to do. Me? Well, I’m not exactly sure what yet if/when I’m asked, but I really like the quote to “Love well. Give wells”…
If you’re still reading, and want to know how in the world this related to the post title, well here’s why – the Advent Conspiracy hopes that we will worship fully, spend less, give more and love all this Christmas:
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.
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.
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? Need a few ideas? Just click here and see what others have done to give more during the advent season.
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.