The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-changing event again? Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.
The word conspiracy comes from the Latin COM, meaning together; and SPIRARE, meaning to breathe. This year, I am calling on us as a congregation to literally “take a deep breath together” at Christmas. Who wouldn’t enjoy a deep breath from the maddening maelstrom of busyness, excess and stress? Who couldn’t use God’s sustaining breath during a season that typically makes us lose our own?
Simply put: Advent Conspiracy is an effort to simplify Christmas.
It is a movement to enter the story of the Incarnation in ways that are relational and transformative. It is an effort to resist our cultural tendencies toward OVER- consumption and excess, and instead make meaningful connections with one another and with the One who is at the heart of the story in the first place.
So how will we do it? We are boldly calling on our families to…
1.Worship Fully; 2. Spend Less; 3.Give More; and 4. Love All.
These four themes will be the areas of focus that will move us as a congregation into and through the season of Advent.
- Worship Fully: Through sermons, worship, devotions, and bible studies with children and youth, we will attempt to UNCLUTTER our minds and hearts, so that we might truly enter a worshipful awareness of the Sacred One born unto us. We will join with the shepherds and magi to encounter the mystery of the Divine Word become flesh.
- Spend Less: We will also focus on the sheer magnitude and potential power of our spending at Christmas. Americans will spend more than 600 billion dollars on Christmas every year. (Just to put it in perspective, it would only take about 20 billion, one time, to remedy the world’s water crisis.) This advent, we will take a serious look at where our money goes, and challenge ourselves to consider the incredible power we have in our spending to impact the cause of Christ in the world.
- Give More: While being called to spend less, we are also calling upon ourselves to give more. We will focus on simplifying what we give to one another at Christmas. We will recover the lost art of giving not only our presents, but also presence. We will be challenged to give more of ourselves relationally to family, to neighbors, to the hurting, and to God.
- Love All: Finally, we will conspire together as a congregation to love all. The birth of Christ drew all kinds of people. It is this Christly magnetism that compels we who follow him to likewise love with no limits.
The gift given at Christmas changed the world once. We think it can again.
As you can see there is a conspiracy afoot! A conspiracy to simplify. A conspiracy to look forward to the season again. A conspiracy to be engulfed by a mystery bigger than Black Friday.
A conspiracy to make our way to the little town of Bethlehem, where we kneel with shepherds, and worship.
Join the conspiracy!
Have I told you lately how much I love being your pastor?
Well, I do.
Johns Creek Baptist Church