Summary: Rethinking Christmas Before It’s Too Late … Again This Year
Rethinking Christmas Before It’s Too Late … Again This Year.*
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Well, I know that seems a bit early but you wouldn’t know it when you walk in some stores. Right next to Halloween decorations you find a Christmas aisle! Not to mention – that Christmas is only 66 days away.
What I am trying to say is … Christmas is already on the local retailers radar and they have a VERY specific agenda regarding how they want you to celebrate it.
I contend that our faith offers a more wholesome alternative to celebrating Christmas than the retailers are offering – it is worshipping the Christ.
This morning I am going to introduce you to this year’s Advent theme. We will look at it in more detail beginning on the first Sunday of Advent; November 30, 2014.
Actually, what I am really hoping to do is introduce you to a new way of “doing Christmas.” It is a project my family and I have been working on and struggling with for a many years. I minimizes the consumer aspects and emphasis the Christ aspects. It’s not a “Bah! Humbug!” mentality – it is a worshipful and celebrative opportunity and, for me, it makes Christmas far more satisfying and meaningful.
In 2006 a group of Pastor’s got together for fellowship and began to talk about the frustration they felt personally and professionally when the Christmas season rolled around. They shared their feelings of failure to help their congregations rise above consumerism and they discussed their feelings of betrayal because secularism has co-opted the season.
They were looking and praying for a way to circumvent the stranglehold that secularism had placed on Christmas. And they devised a workable “conspiracy” to reclaim the season. That conspiracy became known as “The Advent Conspiracy” and it has not only met the need for those congregations but it has been spreading ever since to thousands of other congregations.
Advent conspiracy does more than simply help us rethink Christmas – it actually helps us redefine our lives as people of faith. The principles of Advent Conspiracy can affect us 52 weeks a year – not just in the month of December.
It plays very nicely into Jesus’ passion (and ours) to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves.
Advent, you may remember, is the four weeks that lead up to Christmas. They are designed / intended to be times of preparation and reflection upon the coming of Christ – not only His first coming but also His second coming. They are intended to make us receptive and open to have a fresh encounter with Christ during the season … think of Advent as being the season to experience a personal coming of Christ into your life.