Advent Conspiracy Manifesto

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 The Christmas season is a season of two competing stories.

 One story is the story of consumer capitalism – of getting more stuff and giving enough to not be embarrassed, of love measured by amount spent for someone.  The heroes of this story are those who live beyond their means, who stand for hours in the cold waiting for the perfect bargain, or those who manage to get all their Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving.

The other story doesn’t have as much glitz and glamour.  It’s a humble story with shepherds and animals and a baby born to poor parents.  But this story, while lacking in style some might say, has more substance.  It’s about the generosity of God and the greatest gift ever given.  Living in light of this story requires us to receive this Gift and to reorient our lives after the pattern of the Giver.

 

Guiding Principles of the Advent Conspiracy

worship fully – It starts with giving God glory for all that He has done for us, gladly receiving God’s love for us and offering our world back to God.  Out of the context of this full-bodied worship, we then engage others differently.

spend less – living out of God’s story will lead us to disengage from the excesses of the other story of our culture.  We tie our relationships to more meaningful things than the ‘stuff’ that we can buy with money.  We refuse to go into debt for things that hold little actual value. 

give more – even though we devalue excessive spending of money, this story calls us to increase our generosity by encouraging people to give more valuable gifts – personal gifts that cost our time and energy, maybe even handmade.  Following God’s example of coming close to us, we give presence, not just presents.  We make memories together and invest in people – what is unique about the recipient and about our relationships with them.  We give gifts that are just – supporting local businesses and buying fair trade products (sometimes, giving more actually does involve spending money well).

love all – we also reconsider who we give gifts to at this time of year.  God’s generous gift for all – especially ‘the least of these’ – inspires us to give to those who cannot give back.  We encourage people to serve people in our community, participate in local events and charities.  We also consider how we can give away some of the money that we didn’t spend on ‘stuff’ – making a difference in the lives of people in need around the world that we will never meet and will never give us a gift in return.

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