A Christmas conspiracy: 4 life-changing new traditions

by Greg Holder, Pastor at The Crossing Church on November 16, 2016

Greg Holder
is the lead pastor at The Crossing Church in Chesterfield, Missouri. 

What if there was a winsome, straightforward way to invite people back into the real story of Christmas? Could we conspire against all the other messages and pressures that push on us during this season? Yes and YES! Here are four simple ingredients to consider.

Recipe for Advent Conspiracy

What you need:
  • Prayer
  • Sense of adventure
  • Thoughtful ideas
  • Someone in need
  • Relationships
  • The Bible
  • You
Directions:
  1. Worship fully. Let’s make no apologies about the point of the Christmas story. We celebrate the birth of Jesus — God incarnate — the One sent to redeem us, to rescue us, to restore us.
  2. Spend less. Let’s not push ourselves deeper into debt so the pile of presents around the tree can be three feet high. It’s okay to buy presents for people you love. However, remember there’s no connection between the story of Jesus and stopping by the mall to mindlessly buy a gift that someone doesn’t need with money you don’t have.
  3. Give more. Wait. That sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Maybe not. What if we gave relational gifts? These may require more thought and more of us. Like when a young man gave a bag of coffee beans to his dad. Huh? The note on the gift said it all: “Dad you are only allowed to drink the coffee from these beans with me. And in the days that it takes us to enjoy this coffee, I just want to hear your voice. I miss you, and this is just for us.” That gift just became relational.
  4. Love all. What if we took some of the money we saved from not buying Uncle Murray that sweater he was never going to wear anyway? What if we took some of that money and we gave it to those in need, those who are overlooked, those whom Jesus referred to as “the least of these?”
 

A few years ago, a handful of pastors and I began talking about Advent. Like many of you, we began to lament how our friends, families, churches, and in some ways, we ourselves were getting sucked into the craziness. Folks would get to the end of the season worn out, in debt, overweight (I know, now I’m getting personal), and with this weird and depressing sense that they’d missed the point of Christmas.

Here’s what we came up with in response: What if we invited our churches to celebrate Christmas differently? We offered up these four ideas:

  1. Make time to worship our great and glorious King!
  2. Don’t get sucked into the lie that spending more money is how we celebrate Christmas.
  3. Give more of ourselves to friends and family with thoughtful, creative expressions of love.
  4. Show the world God’s grace in an outrageously unselfish way: Love people we don’t know and whose names we may never know.

This would be the start of a little counter-cultural movement now known as Advent Conspiracy. It’s grown to include thousands of churches, youth groups, and Christ followers in more than 20 countries on every continent!

Pray about what that looks like for you and your family. God will lead you. I’ll just say this much: It’s worth it.

The kind of life with God that gets involved — that notices the less fortunate, that feels the pain of a friend, that knows sarcasm is a cheap substitute for joy, that forgives freely and laughs deeply and cries openly, that truly gives to others this Christmas — this kind of life with God is fuller and freer and, well, it’s worth it.

So let’s conspire together!

This article was originally posted on the World Vision blog.
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