There’s some great stuff out there on the web if you’re tired of the consumerist madness that characterises this time of the year we call the ‘silly season’. I recently came across the website of a group called Advent Conspiracy. They are a group of concerned pastors in the US who want to take us back to what Christmas is really about – the birth of the Prince of Peace, the One who gave himself for all. I love their logo on the left. Such a prophetic message, showing a shopper with a trolly full of goods coming face to face with one of the 3 wise men, come to worship the King. The Advent Conspiracy movement is catching on, as you can see from a map on their website showing others who are doing what they can to celebrate Jesus at Christmas. Here’s what they say about themselves:

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.

They want to take us back to giving in the real sense, back to relationship and love. The slogan at the bottom of their website is quite brilliant. It says ‘give presence’. This clip will give you more of an idea of what they’re about:

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I feel inspired when I hear about groups like this, people who want to steal Christmas back from the ‘Grinches’ who would have us believe that it’s all about how much you can buy. A Galaxy survey in 2008 showed that

“Gen Y[ers]…would spend an average of $245 on their partners, $264 on a child, $65 on a friend and $220 on themselves [and] other Australians said they would spend $189 on their partner, $196 on a child, $35 on a friend and $107 on themselves.”

The same would be true this year, and maybe even more so as business confidence is on the rise again.

I love Christmas. I love it because, despite our addiction to stuff, it gives me hope that there is a better way, a more excellent way, as the apostle Paul put it. The way of love inspires me to subvert what Christmas has become and try to live in a way that honours the babe in a manger who grew up to walk and talk the way of the cross, and then the way of resurrection, the life that is truly life.

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