Do you know when we went from Christians celebrating the greatest gift ever given to even irreligious people being annoyed at how materialistic and consumeristic Christmas has become? Like many things, it was a creeping yet steady change. The question, for me anyway, is how can we practically push back against the consumerism that has the Christmas season by the throat.
Estimates of how much Americans spend at Christmas range from $200 billion to $480 billion or more. I’ve seen estimates that eradicating dirty water in the world, which ends the life of millions of people each year, would cost $20-30 billion. Hmmm. So if every American consumer redirected one out of $10-20 or so we could potentially end one of the greatest scourges on our planet? As much as my kids each “need” that second and third gift on Christmas morning, I’m pretty sure that in the long run they’d rather see our family directly contribute to giving life.
We are going to provide St. Andrews some practical steps this Advent on how to push back against the consumerism that is strangling Jesus’ birthday celebration. Each week during worship we’ll talk about a practical way to cut back on consumerism and simplify our Christmas celebration, give to those in need, or just sleep in heavenly peace during the holidays. You can google Advent Conspiracy for even more ideas.
On Christmas Eve we’ll give half of the offering that night to Crossing Cambodia (bringing the love of Jesus, providing basic needs and sponsoring education to the street children of Battambang, Cambodia), Lutheran World Relief (providing aid during disasters and coordinating development efforts-like clean water projects-throughout the world), and Lutheran Heritage Foundation (translating and providing the materials to train church planters and pastors all over the world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ). We’re calling it our Advent Conspiracy Offering.
Our Sunday messages will focus on the great promises God has given us through the prophet Isaiah (you can join us for discussions each week at the 9:45 discipleship hour) and how they are meant to resonate in our lives today.
In short, we’re simply trying to let Jesus be the first, middle, and last thing we think about and are focused on during Advent and Christmas. We’ll celebrate what He has saved us from, and become a little more what He has saved us for. Looking forward to growing with you as we celebrate the advent of our Lord and Savior.
~ Pastor Dan