Advent Conspiracy challenges
Christians to take back Christmas
The Layman , December 10, 2009
“Worship fully, spend less, give more and love all.”
For more information about the Advent Conspiracy, go to the organization’s Web site at www.adventconspiracy.org
In hopes of recapturing Christmas, that’s the challenge offered to Christians worldwide by the Advent Conspiracy. Proclaiming that “Christmas can (still) change the world,” the international movement offers a resource for pastors and congregations to engage in authentic worship and giving at Christmas that focuses on the King of kings, rather than the almighty dollar.
At the core of its mission is relational giving and relief projects, such as providing clean drinking water and feeding the hungry.
“It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God,” according to Advent Conspiracy’s Web site. “It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns and a king is celebrated with each breath.”
In its rebuke of a consumer-driven Christmas season, Advent Conspiracy claims that Americans spend $450 billion on Christmas each year and much of the giving-receiving is out of obligation. The Web site suggests buying one fewer gift this year as a starting point and rethinking current giving expectations.
“Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall,” the organization’s Web site states. “Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom. Time to write mom a letter. Time to take the kids sledding. Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?”
One area where a portion of that $450 billion in Christmas spending could have a huge impact is providing clean drinking water in poor countries. According to the “Give Water” section of the Web site, 1.8 million people die each year from water born illnesses and a $10 investment will give a child clean water for life. To overcome the 3,900 daily child deaths due to lack of clean water, the organization suggests that every participating church and organization donate to its partner, Living Water International. A fraction of American Christmas spending, only $10 billion, could solve the world’s water problems, the Web site claims.
An Advent Conspiracy Web site entitled “Rethinking Christmas” includes a blog that discusses topics such as presents for less than $20, do-it-yourself gifts and ways to be generous with one’s time. The forum allows individuals to read, post and respond to ideas that support the concept. The site also provides an interactive global map that shows how other participants are celebrating Christmas in new ways.
The “Conspiracy” started in 2006 as a collaboration among Rick McKinley of Imago Dei Community in Portland, Ore.; Greg Holder from Windsor Crossing in St. Louis, Mo.; and Chris Seay of Ecclesia in Houston, Texas. The grassroots movement has grown to include 1,000 churches in 17 countries. According to an Advent Conspiracy news release, the movement raised $3 million last year for relief projects around the world.
The Advent Conspiracy Web site provides a variety of resources, including bulletin inserts, news release templates and logos for congregations who want to join. For those who desire a deeper understanding of the effort, online podcasts and videos also are available for download.
The organization has more than 17,000 fans on Facebook, where they chat about upcoming events and share resources on furthering the cause. The movement also has an active presence on Twitter and MySpace.