December - Advent Conspiracy
What would it take to “ruin Christmas” for you? For me it would be if my Oklahoma Sooners lost to the Colorado Buffaloes and the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the same season. My Christmas is officially ruined. Ok, not really. When I think about Christmas being “ruined,” I think of drastic events. Relatives dying, heartbreaks, and illness. That’s probably what it would take to really “ruin Christmas.” Twenty years ago if I would of thought about it, I probably would have said in order to ruin Christmas, you need to mess up the presents. Like when I asked for a bike and got a guitar. Not cool dad (I mean Santa).
Chris and Tiffini are an awesome couple that decided to raise their kids knowing that Santa doesn’t really bring presents on Christmas day to kids all over the world (sorry if I just ruined it for you). They simply wanted their two girls to know that someone actually sacrificed to give a present to them. They didn’t want their kids to think that some magical elf thought they were good enough to earn presents by obeying their parents and being good (basically doing what they’re suppose to do). Well this was all fine and dandy until their kids went to school and other parents caught wind that those children didn’t “believe in Santa Claus.” Chris told me that he had never seen parents so angry. They were threatened repeatedly that bad things would happen if their kids “ruined Christmas” for the other deceived children. Unfortunately, it sounds like the angry parents had already ruined Christmas for their families.
I believe that by the weekend after Thanksgiving, Christmas is ruined for a lot of people. The focus is not on Christ, but on you or maybe on others. Not a bad thing, but not necessarily the spirit of Christmas. It was an epiphany to me when someone pointed out that the wise men didn’t bring gifts for each other, but for Jesus. The very fabric the holiday is built on now is to celebrate God’s gift to all mankind by giving gifts to just the people we know and like. When the first question you ask a kid on December 26th is “What did you get for Christmas?” there must be a change. What if the first question we asked was, “What did you give for Christmas?” In order to restore God’s meaning of Christmas my wife and I are planning to be a part of the “Advent Conspiracy.” On www.adventconspiracy.org you learn that “Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by worshipping Jesus through compassion, not consumption.” The core belief is that Christmas was meant to change the world, so our celebration of Christmas should fall in line with that. The four main components of the Advent Conspiracy are to worship more, spend less, give more, and love all.
As we worship Christ, we should desire to make Him known to the world. This should result in a desire not to take part in the consumerism that is ravishing our society and churches, but rather a desire to spend less on cheap gadgets and aftershave and give more of ourselves to others. The Advent Conspiracy points out that we worship a God who gave us a relational gift, not a material one. Therefore the gifts my wife and I are giving this Christmas are going to be relational in nature. For my parents we’re throwing a killer party and giving them a small photo album with pictures of their family before they leave as missionaries to South Asia. There’s a huge list of ideas for relational gifts on the Advent Conspiracy website. In loving all, the goal is to re-distribute the money saved on spending less to those who need it. This Christmas my wife and I are “adopting” a couple of children with single moms through our church’s ministry to the poor in our community. We are asking our family to spend what they would normally spend on us to bless those children and moms who would otherwise receive little help during the holidays. The Advent Conspiracy also suggests that churches and individuals give 25% of what they re-distribute towards clean-water organizations providing clean water to third world countries. A list of suggested organizations is on their website.
Whatever you decide to do this Christmas, I would challenge you to consider celebrating this holiday like a birthday for Jesus, not a birthday for you. In Mark 10:45 we read that, “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” May our celebration of His coming reflect the reason he came.
By: Brian Zunigha