Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Advent Conspiracy (Copied from Advent Conspiracy pamphlet)


The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a Savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again? Welcome to Advent Conspiracy, a movement calling us to proclaim Christ in how we celebrate Christmas.

Advent Conspiracy was started in 2006 by five pastors who decided to make Christmas a revolutionary event by encouraging their faith communities to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. The response was overwhelming and the Conspiracy was born. Their vision for this project is a collaboration between Rick McKinley of Imago Dei Community in Portland, OR; Greg Holder from Windsor Crossing in St.Louis, MO; and Chris Seay of Ecclesia in Houston, TX.

Becoming a Part of the Story

Advent Conspiracy is a resource for churches to engage in authentic Worship and Giving at Christmas more fully-- a simple idea for you to take and run with. Be as creative and bless those in need by giving relationally as God gave His Son to us at Christmas. No Money comes to or through Advent Conspiracy. You decide where and how you would like to Give More to those in need. The concept behind Advent Conspiracy is simple...

Worship Fully
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.

Spend Less
Before you think we're getting all Scrooge on you, let us explain what we mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this: America spends on average of $450 billion a year on Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? We're asking people to consider buying one less gift this Christmas. Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season. Looking for a few gifts that don't cost money? Need some more ideas for relational giving? Head to www.RethinkingChristmas.com today.

Give More
God's gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it's no wonder why we're drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can't be found at the mall. Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?

Love All
When Jesus loved, he loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked, and the sick. Jesus played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join him in giving resources to those who need the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need.

One less gift.
One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.

For more information, including some videos, be sure to visit www.AdventConspiracy.org.

1 comment:

  1. It is an interesting idea. Though I certainly am in favor of restoring the original meaning of Christmas, I question whether this is the best way to do it. I agree that spending money for presents out of obligation is the wrong spirit, but I would contend that the commercialism of the season is more the result of poor attitudes behind giving and receiving than it is the amount spent on gifts.

    To use God as an example, He gave us His Son. There was nothing more expensive or unique He could possibly give us. If He is willing to do that, and also tells us to love others as we love ourselves, then it seems that generosity in giving is not the problem. If it is not the problem, then it makes little sense to me to fix it.

    Likewise, He wants us to receive that gift from Him. If everything we can possibly give each other is a pittance compared to that, then receiving generous gifts is also not the problem.

    We are left then with an attitude issue, of either giving gifts out of obligation or wanting to receive gifts either to give proof to the giver's love for us or more than we love the giver.

    One thing to take into account is that, for some people, gifts are their language of love. To give them less and instead go sledding with them does not show them love, and is that not the essence of the season?

    I would instead argue that this is a time to give all we can, perhaps not to our family and friends in neatly wrapped packages, but to those who have little, to the homeless, to the widows and orphans. It is a time to teach gratitude for what we've been given, not only in salvation and the chance for a new identity in Christ, but in the blessings of having a roof over our head and food in our cabinets. And then, once that gratitude has been learned by the receiver and the love accepted, it is time to give generously as God has given to us.

    -Johnathan Ness
    http://getconfidence.wordpress.com/

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