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We all know the drill, yet it gets us every holiday. Each year we seem surprised and can’t believe that we’re already seeing the Christmas lights, the decorations, and hearing the music. The turkey and stuffing hasn’t even begun to cook and rolling through the stations we can find jingle bells and silver bells ringing through the radio. Then, after we do wake up from our turkey time nap, we’re slammed with ads and sales galore. Stores opening Thanksgiving night and staying open through that biggest shopping day of the year. Midnight, 4 AM, 5 AM, 6 AM sales and deals! Today only! Cut your coupons! Free Shipping! SHOP. SHOP. SHOP.
We certainly live in a consumer’s world. And sure, many good things come from a healthy consumer culture, but when it turns into a time of more and more and more and more, we lose what the season is truly about. This year, I’ve been fortunate to learn through my home church about a special movement that hopes to change that “more is better” mentality. A movement to remind us what is really important during the holidays. The movement is called Advent Conspiracy.
The Advent Conspiracy movement began in 2006 by a few pastors who wanted to revamp how their communities thought and celebrated during the Christmas season. The result created a template for anyone to follow and re-think how they think about Christmas. Instead of buying more, shopping more, and stressing more, Advent Conspiracy encourages us to stop and give our time as a gift. “Spend less on gifts, and more on relationships.” The four pillars of the conspiracy are worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. Each one of these ideas coincide with the four Sundays in the Advent season leading up to Christmas. These themes provide four distinct ways we can refocus our attention to the true reason for the season, the Christ Child, who was, is, and will always be the greatest gift of all.
The video below gives a great overview of Advent Conspiracy and explains one of the ways the movement encourages us to give more by supporting Living Water International, an organization who provides clean water systems to the poor in deprived areas of the world.
I’d encourage you to take a few moments, watch the video, and think about what it means and how those thoughts can change your approach to the shopping malls and madness this Christmas. And if you find yourself looking for a place to learn more, the First United Methodist Church of West Newton will be exploring the themes over the next few weeks or you can find more on the Advent Conspiracy website.
If you let them, those thoughts just might make this Christmas one of the most meaningful ever.