Advent Conspiracy, December's Challange

If you saw my sneak peek video, you probably figured out what our December challenge is.

Our challenge is to re-think Christmas and begin to celebrate it differently. I want to ask the hard questions and be willing to face the hard answers. Do we celebrate in a way that truly honors Jesus’ Birthday? Do we prepare for Christmas the way Jesus would have?

Honestly, I struggled a little with picking this topic as our first challenge. I have been re-thinking Christmas for last five years or so and I will be the first to admit it is hard. It takes courage to change. I am telling you this because some of the ideas I want to present to you could be tough to hear. I hope that you will hang with me and give this challenge a chance. Changing the way we think about Christmas is a big deal and it is a step by step process. My hope is that you do at least one thing differently this year, even if that one thing is just thinking of celebrating Christmas in a fresh way.

So, I want to begin by introducing you to Advent Conspiracy. [AC] Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption. It is a genius movement put together by some great pastors and followed by thousands of people. I wish I could take credit for thinking of it. Instead, I will ask you to join it with me.

Advent Conspiracy  focuses on four things,

Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All

[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 an average of $450 billion a year every 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.

[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? Need a few ideas? Just click here and see what others have done to give more during the advent season.

[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. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help 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.

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

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?

I plan on taking the four areas and focusing on them week by week. I hope to offer stories, gift ideas, inspiration and more. I also hope you will share your thoughts and ideas too.

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy

The information above is from the Advent Conspiracy website. http://www.adventconspiracy.org/

Please forgive the bland post. Blogger is not letting me up load images at the moment.