For about half of my adult life I have been seeking to untangle Christmas from the web of materialism and secularization that it has become in the western world. When I began expressing my concerns I was often provided that peculiar glare from people who thought you were Scrooge-incarnate. But I persisted and I can’t tell you how happy I was when I came across a web site titled “The Advent Conspiracy.” Here I found my kindred spirits. Their website is simple, and the main page says it all.
Can Christmas still change the world?
The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale.
Founded by five pastors, they posed four tenets:
- Worship Fully
- Spend Less
- Give More
- Love All
The essays listed below are reflections on these four tenets. They are my journey, yet you will most likely find threaded into the stories your story as well. There is hope for Christmas.
- Christmas — It’s a Tide, not a DayOne of the revolutionary changes that occurred in my celebration of Christmas was when I realized that it was a “tide”, not a day
- Give MoreTwo of the tenets of the Advent Conspiracy are to Spend Less and Give More. What sense does that make? In an earlier essay I discussed how we could get through Christmas without any debt. It is interesting to note that, in hindsight, I was not telling you to spend less. But by focusing on spending cash…
- Worship FullyAdvent is a spiritual journey. It is my journey and it is personal. There are no formulas here, no recited liturgy or rites of passage. It is, in essence, a reminder that at one time in the history of man was my personal history – a life without the Christ.
- Cash Only PleaseIf anything demonstrates how distorted Christmas has become, it is the amassed credit card debt.
- What’s MissingWhen you extend a welcoming hand to people who are lonely, you help fill the emptiness.