Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Conspiracy' Resists Holiday Greed, Urges Giving | Liveblog | Christianity Today

'Conspiracy' Resists Holiday Greed, Urges Giving | Liveblog | Christianity Today:
"Pastors’ attempts to ward off the Christmas spirits of consumerism and busyness are so predictable, they’re easy to ignore. So many churches are looking for creative ways to reinvigorate members to take the energy they usually put into holiday-season spending and convert it into compassionate giving.

Such is the Advent Conspiracy, a self-described “emerging international movement” began in 2006 by Rick McKinley, senior pastor of Imago Dei Community, a 1,500-member emergent church in Portland, Ore. Sick of the de-emphasis on Christ during the weeks leading up to Christmas, McKinley challenged his congregation to give like God does."
I have, at times, been accused of developing a scaly green skin this time of year as I think of ways to suck the joy out of Christmas. A lot of it is the pressure to conform to the consumerism of the season, but I have to admit that all the pageantry, choir activities, holiday lunches and dinners take their toll as well. It's almost as if I dread the season -- not as much as I dread election years, but still I dread it.

Maybe the Imago Dei Community is on to something here. To give like God gives carries a lot of weight. It would mean giving without any expectation of a quid pro quo. It might mean anonymously giving a meal to a hungry man or giving a coat to a shivering woman. It might mean giving up everything to follow Jesus, even to the point of offering up one's very life.

On the same web page I found this story linked, there was another link to an article published in 1993 called Let the Pagans Have the Holiday. The author of this article suggested that, rather than trying to "take back" Christmas, we take back Easter before we turn our attention to the Nativity:
"...So let the pagans have Christmas as their most significant holiday. Easter is the central Christian holiday. And when we are known for our Easter, then we will have our Christmas back."
This too is thought-provoking, but I have to admit that my heart is with restoring Christmas to its proper place while trying at the same time to live as an "Easter Christian". And I really do enjoy the music of the season.

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