Here is something I wrote for our ministry connection this week regarding the Advent Conspiracy:
As we are thrust into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I want to take just a moment to slow down, look around, and help. What is Christmas all about? Ultimately, Christmas is about the God of the universe making the ultimate sacrifice by coming to earth as a man and living the perfect life in order to save us from eternal punishment. Then, why do we fight traffic, mall lines, and deranged parents on this glorious occasion? It is because our culture has created a Christmas in which we are more worried about getting the good picture with Santa, standing in line at 3 am to get a new Wii, and making sure our house has a Clark Griswold amount of lights on it. Are these things bad? Absolutely not but I do think that we need to think about what we are celebrating this wonderful Christmas season.
That is why our youth group has joined a group called the Advent Conspiracy (www.adventconspiracy.org) whose goal it is to put justice, mercy, and compassion back in Christmas. The Advent Conspiracy has four main functions: Worship More, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All. The call here is to find more times to worship, give relational, less expensive gifts, spend the money that you save on a charity or clean water initiative, and find ways to love the people in your life now and those around the world.
As a result of these four things the youth group has decided to do things a little different this year. Instead of having normal Christmas parties, we wanted to find ways to give back to our local community. Our Middle School group brought in tons of clothes to be given away at Good News at Noon and our High School group will be volunteering at a local charity on December 21st (If you would like to be a part contact me and we would love for you to help out). I wanted us to take just a small amount of time and give back to our community in a real and tangible way.
Therefore, this Christmas season I want to encourage you to worship more by taking advantage of the things like Jingle Jazz and the candlelight Christmas Eve service as well as carving out time with your family to worship and reflect the magnitude of Christmas. I want to encourage you to spend less and give more by finding ways to give relational gifts and then spend extra money or time on a clean water initiative (Living Water International) or some other charity. Lastly, let me encourage you to love all. This may mean having to forgive your mom, or love your crazy aunt, or tell your kids you love them but whatever it looks like for you, just love.
Here is a link for a blog post with a couple of ideas for relational gifts/charities.