advent conspiracy

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?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

Raise your hand if you have ever been in church during the month of December, and the pastor has lamented the busyness of the season or commented on how difficult it was to find a parking spot at the mall the day before. And while we all nod our heads in agreement, little is said in terms of how followers of Jesus are meant to approach the Christmas season.

Year in and year out, we hear the stories of the baby being born into the world in order to save us from our sins, and wait in eager anticipation to see what the various Santa’s in our lives will put under the tree for us, all the while reinforcing the underlying misconception that to be a Christian requires belief in Jesus with little to no change in terms of socially, culturally and politically accepted ways of living.

The people behind Advent Conspiracy believe that Christmas can [still] change the world. Through the weeks of advent, we are to anticipate and embody the coming of Jesus; the telling and re-telling of the great story of his birth is to serve as a reminder that God is deeply interested and involved in the present realities of the world and that he is constantly calling a people together to embody a different ‘way’ of living in it. All those who take the story of Jesus’ birth seriously are to demonstrate to the world that to believe in him is to understand that this message of good news is to be shared with all people, and that to follow him requires a visible shift away from the dominant social, and cultural and political powers and into the world as imagined and revealed in Scripture and shaped by the teachings, example and practices of this baby become man.

In Bonhoeffer’s words, disciples of Jesus called to have a “very real impact on the life of the world” in that they “gain space for Christ.” N.T. Wright, while reflecting on the Gospel of Mark, articulates the implications of what it means for the church as a community of disciples to gain space for Christ and his kingdom in the world today: it is “to abandon its imperialistic dreams on the one hand, and its passive non-involvement on the other, and to become for the world what Jesus was for the world. This is what discipleship, following Jesus, really means.”

And so, as Christmas comes and goes, the people at [AC] encourage us to “Worship Jesus Fully; consider Spending Less on gifts that are bought out of obligation; Give More relational gifts; and use a little bit of the money you didn’t spend to Love All by helping those in need.”

This is an outlook on Christmas that I can get behind; to reclaim the story of Jesus’ power as one which has the power to change the world, and to take tangible steps to enact that change.

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