It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! (Take a step back)
As I was shopping a few weeks ago, I heard the first Christmas music of the season.
It’s always interesting that this happens in retail stores before it happens in church, signaling that we have entered the season of shopping, which precedes the season of Advent. Christmas decorations were out in the stores before Halloween. Every year, shopping becomes a more and more dominant theme of the Thanksgiving holiday, starting this year on Thanksgiving Day.
It always seems odd to me to designate a day to give thanks for all that God has given us, then to go on a shopping frenzy the next day because we just have to have those items on sale. When we are bombarded by such demands of time and money, sometimes we can feel anything but peaceful. Unfortunately, most of us are so tossed and blown around with our resources of time and money that we forget who we are and what this season is about.
There is a movement called Advent Conspiracy (adventconspiracy.com) that calls for people to turn Christmas upside down by adopting four principles: worship fully, spend less, give more and love all. This movement inspires us to set aside the distractions of the world that make us think that this season is about what we buy, what we wear, and what we eat, and reminds us that it is about who we worship, how we manage our resources to be a blessing to others, and how we love our neighbor.
According to this website, America spends about $450 billion during the Christmas season, with a lot of that on credit cards. It causes one to think about what the object of our worship truly is. We can listen to those blaring ads on television that shout to us that we need to get out there and shop, or we can make a decision to honor this season by renewing and revitalizing our faith and our life of peace in God.
As we enter the season of Advent, carve out some time out of your busy, holiday schedule, just to be alone with God. Spend some sacred time honoring God every day just by being silent and resting in his presence. In these peaceful times, seek God’s will about how to use your resources this year.
Advent should be a time of preparation leading up to the joy of Christmas, but too often we jump right to the joy of Christmas as soon as we can, spending money that we don’t have in order to create the perfect Christmas, only to find ourselves with a let-down feeling on Christmas morning.
This year, make Advent a quieter, more reflective time that leads up to the celebration of Christmas. Spend time with your loved ones instead of trying to purchase love in the form of gifts. Renew your spirit of creation in making homemade gifts and treats, and offering your time and service, instead of getting caught up in the hectic pace of overdoing it with shopping, eating, and decorating.
When Christmas day comes, celebrate with joy and keep that celebration going for the twelve days of Christmas. Use this time to remember that God came to a broken world in human form to make us whole. A true celebration of Christmas gives us a chance to first reflect on the brokenness of this world and then walk as disciples to become whole and heal the world.