Alright, just between you and me: are you stressed already? Tis the season–the most wonderful time of the year, and all–and we are squeezing out every last drop of holiday goodness we can. This includes crafts and stories and baking, in addition to all the parties and gift giving and decorating we can manage. But I’m feeling, with Christmas less than two weeks away, that I’m struggling to survive instead of enjoy.
I guess I thought that was just how the holidays had come to be, until yesterday in church when our Pastor announced that this year, our church will be participating in the Advent Conspiracy. My ears perked up: are we doing covert operations now? Shall I stock up on black glasses and wigs as to hide Advent candles in the homes of my unconverted friends? How very exciting!
Actually, Advent Conspiracy is a movement to change the way we think about Christmas. The main principle: Spend Less, Give More. Instead of buying that gift card, sweater, trinket–instead of asking for that random item you’ve lived this long without–send a homemade gift, or a card telling that person how much they mean. Then take that money and do something really useful with it, like buy food for starving children or wells for clean water.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Of course we’re appreciate of the gifts we’ve received and the thoughtfulness behind them. We too are guilty of overspending and overscheduling, especially when it comes to the kids. But for a minute: think. There’s still time to make this Christmas different, to spend it the way Christ first spent it: simply, joyfully, with the people He loved.
Want to know more? I did. Advent Conspiracy’s got some great videos here. “Enter the Story” is my favorite. Still feel like you have to have a gift? Try Living Water International. You can turn your donation into a gift card, and the recipient can choose which project they want to support. Snazzy! The best part, in my opinion? That they sell in $5 increments. I love that $5 still means a lot to someone. This year, I’m going to try to make it me.