For the last few weeks our church has been discussing “Advent Conspiracy” and how we as followers of Jesus are called to live especially during the Christmas season. There are four themes or practical applications: “Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All” and it has all the feelings of idealistic change and charging in and living radically and getting caught up in the something big. (Obviously I am exaggerating wildly so I’d recommend you check it out for yourself.) My life and schedule are a little chaotic right now and carrying around a growing baby inside me doesn’t help so maybe that’s why it all sounded overwhelming and, frankly, unappealing to me. Something along the lines of, “Ughhh, I just don’t have time to radically change the entire landscape of Christmas commercial culture right now. Maybe next year.”
It all just seemed a little too big to carry home from church and do something with, until I started thinking about it.
Strangely enough, when I started considering the implications of “spending less” and “giving more” and the impact on my schedule and priorities this holiday season, the first emotion I felt was RELIEF. As if for the first time ever, I realized I had a choice in how I spent my time and money from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It almost felt euphoric, like a kid running out of school on last day of class. I felt FREE. If Christmas is all about Jesus and Jesus cares like crazy about people, could that mean I am free to care about the things on my heart - on Jesus’ heart - at Christmastime and not a set schedule of obligations I have to follow?
I don’t mean to imply that every past Christmas season has been a list of tasks I begrudgingly accomplish. But I do mean that there’s something about taking authority over my choices that I didn’t feel I had before- the ability to say no to things that don’t matter and say yes to the people to do matter. For example, I love giving gifts that make people feel known and loved. But often times, that means I drive myself crazy trying to find sales in order to afford more lavish gifts instead of something smaller or simpler. What really matters is loving that person well and that doesn’t need to include them feeling “spoiled” by the amount of money I spend on them.
This season, my “Advent Conspiracy” change might be as small and simple as taking time to catch up with a friend over hot chocolate or planning some extra movie nights with my family and a little less time spending a fortune on Christmas cards. That’s okay, because what I am most excited about is a newfound perspective that allows me to see this Christmas full of joy and cheer and as the celebration that it truly is.