Advent Conspiracy

I co-facilitated an Advent study today.  If it sounds fancy, it wasn’t.  The study is more of a discussion focused on a DVD we watch together and a book that we read (or not… the book and the DVD mirror each other).  The group meets at my friend’s home, which lends itself to a pretty casual atmosphere.  

The DVD/book, Advent Conspiracy, focuses on reclaiming the meaning of the Christmas season.  Now, we can quibble about the origins of the Christmas holiday, but one thing is for certain:  the Christian tradition honors the birth of the Christ child at Christmas.  Or, at least, that is what is supposed to happen.  But, instead… consumerism, consumerism, bah humbug.  You know folks feel this way.  Even the Charlie Brown Christmas special talks about people losing sight of the real meaning of the season.

But, then the assumption is that the real meaning of the season is peace, joy and love.  And, arguably, it IS… but not just for those we love.  Time and time again, Jesus spoke up for the outcast, the downtrodden, the poor. So, shouldn’t those be the people we focus on at Christmas?  If I believe that God chose to become human, to be born a helpless infant in order to ultimately offer great hope and a new vision of God’s kingdom to the world,  shouldn’t I do something to honor that miracle?  Shouldn’t I reach out beyond my comfort zone to make sure others have some comfort for themselves?  Shouldn’t I do something more than buy my family and friends gifts?  Shouldn’t I find the very spirit of Christ in my Christmas celebration?  

But, then again, I have to ask myself if that is really what I want to do… Isn’t a Christmas without Jesus, except for his cameo in the manger in my nativity set, a lot easier?  

Ultimately, for me it comes down to Jane (again).  What is it that I want to teach my baby girl about Christmas?  Because what I teach her about Christmas reflects what I really believe about God, about my faith, and about Jesus.  Is he just a story in a book?  Or is he real?  And if he is real, is she going to be able to see that in my life–all year long, but especially at Christmas?

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