In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:1-14
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 for many 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?
Join the Advent Conspiracy!
First, Worship Exclusively! It starts with Jesus. It’s all about Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus exclusively.
Glory to God in the highest…” Luke 2:14
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” Luke 4:8
Second, Spend Less! Before you think I’m getting all Scrooge on you, let me explain what I mean. We like gifts. Our kids really like gifts. But consider this, some estimates indicate America spends an average of $600 billion a year every Christmas. How often have you spent money on Christmas presents for no other reason than obligation? How many times have you received a gift out of that same obligation? Thanks, but no thanks, right? What if we each bought just ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas? Just one. Sounds insignificant, yet many who have made this small sacrifice have experienced something nothing less than a miracle. They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season.
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel”
which means, “God with us.”
God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it’s no wonder we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible. Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall. 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 fun Christmas carols. Time to make love visible through relational giving. Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?
Join us next week as we share Part 2 of our Advent Conspiracy series.
A portion of this post comes from the Advent Conspiracy. Visit there site for more resources to conspire with us.