Can Christmas still change the world? This is the question asked by an online organisation called The Advent Conspiracy. (www.adventconspiracy.org) On their website they ask, '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.' The whole idea behind the Advent Conspiracy began when a group of Pastors in the United States began to hope for and explore a better Christmas practice for their own communities. Today, churches all over the world have joined the movement of resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing another way of doing Christmas.
In The Advent Conspiracy, communities are encouraged to: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. Worshipping Fully means remembering it all starts and ends with Jesus, and Christmas is an opportunity to worship God for God's work in the world.
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 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.
When it comes to Giving More, the main point is simple: give more of yourself, as Jesus gave himself for us. Love all: 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. Won't you consider joining the conspiracy this year? Set aside time to worship, and pray, give home-made gifts, plan intentional time with loved ones, and look for ways to share with others.
One great idea for giving back this Christmas is an initiative Mpower has started, where instead of buying a gift for someone, that money is donated to help fund the work of local community workers. The gift that is given is a card telling the story of what your contribution has made possible. (If you'd like more info on this, contact Janet or Jeanne Hayley) 'It is not enough to say no to the way Christmas is celebrated by many; we need to say yes to a different way of celebrating. Let's conspire to change the way we celebrate Christmas.'
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