Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have all come and gone; whether we like it or not the “holiday season” is upon us. For many of us the holidays are filled with shopping, lights, trees and parties. It is a busy and often cheerful time of the year. For others it is a stress inducing, budget stretching and even frantic time of the year. Why is it when we get through with Christmas we are more thankful that its over than it actually happened? Have we replaced the notion of Christmas with another excuse to spend money to show our love to others? For the past few years my family and I have participated in a conspiracy. What if we looked at Christmas in a new way? What if we looked past the stores, the shopping, the mountains of gifts and looked at how Christmas can change the world?
Americans spend $450 Billion on Christmas EVERY YEAR… let that sink in for a minute. $450 BILLION DOLLARS EVERY YEAR for Christmas. Now, did you know it would only take $20 Billion to ensure that all people in the world could have access to clean drinking water? Something seems a bit incongruent here. This is where the Conspiracy comes in. (Everyone loves a good conspiracy right?) The Advent Conspiracy is a different way of looking at Christmas and the in-breaking of God into the world. Advent Conspiracy (or AC) is based on four primary tenets:
Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.
The focus of Advent Conspiracy is centered around the notion on how Christmas can change the world. The very first Christmas 2000+ years ago was radical and counter-cultural The idea of a God (of any religion) coming to earth to dwell, live, serve and teach was something that never entered into people’s minds. However, because of this indwelling of God, we now put ourselves on trajectory to be in communion with God for all times. The creators of this movement sum it up well when they write:
“The time of year when worshiping Jesus should be the easiest is often the hardest. The invitation to join the Advent Conspiracy is a call to remain in the gospel of Jesus and worship him—no matter how strongly the cultural demands of Christ pull at us. The transformation initiated by Jesus I no different today than it was the day he was born—the source of joy, peace, and hope hasn’t changed.” (Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, and Greg Holder, Advent Conspiracy: Can Christmas Still Change the World? (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), page 34.)
AC doesn’t advocate not giving gifts, but they do advocate giving meaningful and thoughtful gifts. Does Uncle Steve really need another tie? Instead of rushing through the aisles or online if we took some time and gave thoughtful gifts, then the gift would equated with love, not with the notion of “the heftier the price tag the more I love you.” Why go into debt to show that you love someone? One of the most memorable and meaningful gifts I was given was a group of 3 x 5 note cards held together by a simple ring. My wife’s aunt, uncle, niece and nephews had all taken the time to write things that they loved about me. It wasn’t the newest piece of technology, it wasn’t my favorite movie; it was a paper note cards and a metal ring. It meant so much because they took the time to think about me instead of buying something just to buy something.
That’s the power of the Advent Conspiracy.
AC gets back to the heart of the Christmas story, not the flashy gifts of the Magi but the humility of Christ and the love poured out by God to all of humanity. Imagine what we could do if we chose this Christmas to share our love in ways that can not be wrapped and placed under a tree. What if we took some of the money that we would have spent on each other and gave it to people who were in need– then Christmas could change the world. Advent Conspiracy allows us to think about how we celebrate Christmas in a new and exciting way.
Below is a video from AC and some of the organizations that you could give gifts through this Christmas. Let’s make this Christmas one to remember!
Join the conspiracy!
[vimeo 47546099] [vimeo 50320595] iPhone App Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBZIWZWomYc Organizations That You Can Support During The Conspiracy!