Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Give Presence

Have you heard of it? The Advent Conspiracy. I first heard about it last year at church and it immediately caught my attention because I've always struggled with wanting Christ to be at the very center of my celebration of Christmas but somehow never feeling like I'd been too successful.




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?

I especially identify with "this empty feeling of missed purpose." Because while I totally enjoy everything about the whole Christmas season, I'm often left knowing I've missed what God had for me to do. Ways He wanted to use me for His purpose. Sure, I've worshiped while singing carols and I've been very grateful for Emmanuel - God with us! But have I successfully communicated to my children that God's gift to us in Jesus prompts us to give back to Him? Giving Him all of ourselves. Our love. Our time. Our everything.


Here is the essence of The Advent Conspiracy...

WORSHIP FULLY
SPEND LESS
GIVE MORE
LOVE ALL

I have to work at this because I can so easily focus on enjoying a feeling or finding the right gift instead of actually giving myself to God and others. It's much easier to buy a present than to give my time. To crank out 100 cards than to find ways to bring encouragement to someone who is hurting. To check things off my list than to stop and ask whose need I could meet today.

We're changing some things about how we do Christmas this year. Our Christmas budget needs to be less about gifts under our tree and more about giving with purpose. Worship to start off each day. Asking whether or not to spend on this or that. Looking for more ways to serve.

I'd love to hear how you will spend yourself this Christmas!

Since you excel in so many ways...
I want you to excel also in this
gracious act of giving
.
2 Corinthians 8:7

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