The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship.
So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt?
Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale.
Enter Advent Conspiracy!
In 2006, several pastors got together to make Christmas a revolutionary event by encouraging their faith communities to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. This year, Christ-St. Paul's joins forces with many churches who are doing just that: Engaging in authentic worship and giving.
This Advent we will explore these four tenets of the Advent Conspiracy movement:
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.
Spending Less isn’t a call to stop giving gifts; it’s a call to stop spending money on gifts we won’t remember in less than a year. America spends around $600 billion dollars during the Christmas season, and much of that is joyless and goes right onto a credit card. By spending wisely on gifts we free ourselves from the anxiety associated with debt so we can take in the season with a full heart.
The most powerful, memorable gift you can give to someone else is yourself. And nobody modeled this more than Jesus. So what does this look like for you? Tickets to a ball game or the theater? A movie night? The main point is simple: When it comes to spending time with those you love, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
It all boils down to love. Love from a savior. Love to a neighbor in need. By spending just a little less on gifts we free up our resources to love as Jesus loves by giving to those who really need help. It’s not that there’s something wrong with the shopping mall—it’s that the better story is about loving all.
How does Advent Conspiracy work?
No money goes to or through Advent Conspiracy. Instead, individual churches decide where and how to Give More. CSP will join in on the conspiracy with our friends Jerry and Stacy Kramer who are serving the Lord in Northern Iraq (LoveForTheLeast.org). The Kramer's have set up four Advent Conspiracy projects:
- Provide Christmas toys, clothes, school supplies and food for the orphans at three sites in Tanzania and Kenya
- Fund the persecuted Church in the Islamic Republic to support pastors, evangelists, workers and their families
- Build a community shower for a refugee village in Northern Iraq
- Provide Christmas outreach, to include blankets, food, music and Gospel presentation to Hindus in Nepal
What do I do?
We're providing a simple way to remind us daily to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All.
- For Families with Kids: 'Christmas Garlands' will be provided to all the kids in the KidZone on Sunday, November 30. Similar to Advent calendars, these Christmas Garlands mark the days of Advent with a pocket. Each day, simply pull out a family devotion and put in an offering as a result of Spending Less. (Contact Bonnie if you have questions.)
- For the Rest of the Parish: Beginning Sunday, November 30th, look for the white lunch sacks in the Narthex and take one home. Each day, simply pull out a devotion and use the sack - or any other container of your choice - to hold your offering. Other ideas for containers include Mason Jars, Gift Bags, Decorated Tins or boxes. Or, have some child-like fun and decorate your white lunch sack.
- Then, on the 4th Sunday in Advent, December 21st, together we will live out the acts of Giving More and Loving All. We will gather all of our various containers during the Lessons & Carols service and send off our gift to the Kramers in Northern Iraq.
As we enter and walk through this season of preparation for the arrival of the King, let these four tenets be your guide: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.
Then surely, we will be living examples that Christmas Can Still Change the World.