Can I tell you how excited I am? And I mean really excited. I’m talking about the kind of excited that kids get around their birthdays. I’m talking about the kind of excited that our dog gets when we get home.
I’m talking about the kind of excited that we don’t always get around Christmas.
Because we can get bogged down in lists and shopping and where the kids (if we have any living at home) will be when school’s out. We can get bogged down in end-of-the-year financials and figuring out the date & time of the big sale and where we’re going to fit the next-big-thing in our homes or our lives. We get bogged down in stuff.
And we’re less focused on Jesus.
And this isn’t me as “The Pastor” standing up on some soap box and pointing my finger. I’m just as guilty as anyone. I struggle with this too. And I’d like to do something different.
And so this Advent season – that season where we prepare for Christmas, where we prepare for the coming Christ child – we spend time refocusing and recommitting ourselves to Christmas as God would have us celebrate. We spend time reclaiming Christmas from the retailers and man- ufacturers and refocus on the incarnation of God’s love present in the Christ.
And like the shepherds were called to witness the newness of God’s infant son, we too are called to bear witness to the new things that God is doing in our world today. And to see the newness before us, we have to filter out the stuff. We have to filter out the shopping. We have to filter out the ways we get bogged down so that Christ can lift us up.
A few years ago, I read a book called Advent Conspiracy. Its authors talk about this kind of consumerism as idolatry. “We become lost in crowded malls, financial debt, and endless lists of gifts to buy. The false doctrine of consumer religion insists, again and again, that money equals love – a convincing enough take to make believers out of non-Christians and Christians alike.”
Advent Conspiracy consists of four elements that we will explore together during the season of Advent:
- Worship Fully – because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus.
- Spend Less – and free your resources for things that truly matter.
- Give More – of your presence, your hands, your words, your time, your heart.
- Love All – the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, the sick, in ways that make a difference.
Two thousand years ago, the birth of the Christ child changed the world. I believe that Christmas continues to change the world. Here. Today.