So, last week as I was home for Thanksgiving with my family, I attended Sunday services at my home church. It was so lovely to see all those familiar faces again! I enjoyed catching up with everyone and receiving so many hugs.
The most memorable thing though, wasn't the warm welcome, but rather a challenge presented by their missions team. Our church has participated in the Advent Conspiracy for several years now, but the video played during worship really put Christmas consumerism in a new light. Here's the link if you're interested: adventconspiracy.org; click on the [AC] Promo Video link to watch.
A few of my friends had never heard of Advent Conspiracy before, so if you too are new to the idea here's a basic overview: The people behind AC want to bring Christians back to the original focus of Christmas, and for more than just the Christmas Eve services. We're celebrating Jesus' birth, but in a way to antithetical to his mission here on earth. Jesus came to serve, to worship, and to love. How do we celebrate? By spending lots of money! Each year, AC focuses on one major need of those living in poverty; this year, they're advocating clean water for everyone. Through their website, you can contribute funds toward building clean wells in third world countries where many people do not have access to clean drinking water. My church has chosen to participate in a different charitable drive this year: funding Plumpy Nut, an enriched food source (kindda like peanut butter with lots of added nutrients) for starving children in third world countries. Both are great opportunities to love and serve as Jesus served.
My point in all this is not to make anyone feel guilty (Lord knows I was a greedy kid when it came to Christmas!), but to make you stop and think: What am I doing this Christmas? Why? Do my actions really represent what I'm trying to celebrate? And like the promo video says, I'm not against presents, I just want to go about them in a different way with a different mindset this year. So now I ask you, What will you do this Christmas?