Semper Reformanda

...some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.

[Wednesday, November 11, 2009]

Advent Conspiracy

It's that time of year again... Christmas season. Although, I don't think it officially kicks off until the day after Thanksgiving, its in the air and I'm getting excited! I'll admit that I really do enjoy Christmas... I love the weather, music and people. However, this can also be a hectic and horrible time of year from a financial perspective. Christmas in the United States has reached amazing heights in the amount of money spent on presents each year. The resulting credit card debt and financial strain in January is never a good thing... yet year after year, we do it again and again.

Well, not anymore.

Advent Conspiracy is a movement started by 3 pastors Rick McKinley (Imago Dei, Portland), Chris Seay (Ecclesia, Houston), and Greg Holder(The Crossing, St. Louis). The idea is simple... spend less at Christmas on presents, and give more presence (see what I did there?). By giving even a single gift that is specifically meaningful to the recipient instead of the sweater or tie you know they will never use, you show love for that person instead of an obligation to buy something for them. These presences could range anything from dedicated time together to handmade scarfs or even food. But the idea is always the same. Instead of just picking something (or many things) off the shelf, spend some time choosing/creating/doing something meaningful for the people you care about.

Now that you've spent less and given more, with some of that cash you've saved how about giving some of it away to others that have need? Our church partners with a group called Living Water International who drills water wells for those in 3rd world countries who don't have the luxury of clean water. However, this is just one idea. As I write this, Albert Pujols is getting ready to speak to ~200 business and church leaders from around the St. Louis area about the work the Pujols Family Foundation is doing, and how this Advent Conspiracy idea is a pretty neat thing.

By spending less and giving more to those around you that you care about, and by using some of that extra money you didn't spend on presents towards a cause that helps push back darkness and injustice in the world, you love all. You show that you recognize and acknowledge the world outside of your immediate surroundings. That there are people who don't have it as good as you do, and that you actually can make a difference. Essentially, Christmas can still change the world.

Through all of this above, this takes some pressure off right? No longer are you searching for gifts upon gifts. No longer are you standing for hours in line at the mall or waiting for that parking space 2 miles away. Instead, you are free from those burdens and able to focus on Christmas itself... to worship fully the advent of the Christ being birthed into the world. This baby Jesus who would give us a glimpse of God, and His desire to rescue us from ourselves. Who would later die and through His death reconcile us to God, paying our price for us. Who would then be resurrected from the dead to secure eternal life for us, that we might live forever with God in glory.

This is the true meaning of Christmas... this is what the Advent Conspiracy is about. Will you join us?

What are you planning on doing this Advent season?


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