advent and the growing need to conspire

Every year we hear of Christians bemoaning the commercialization and secularization of the Christmas - or perhaps I should say “holiday" - season. “Why can’t they just call it for what it is!” we hear incessantly across the airwaves and interwebs. Well, recently a group of Christians have decided to take a different approach to reclaiming Christmas. They call it Advent Conspiracy.

Responding to the extreme consumerism that dominates much of Western Christmas celebrations, Advent Conspiracy calls Christians to instead worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. And while I’m not sure why we need a “conspiracy” to live out these core Christian practices, for a religion often unaware of how deeply its been shaped by culture, the call for change is refreshing nonetheless.

Most refreshing perhaps is the shift in direction Advent Conspiracy takes in the whole issue of Christmas and culture. As co-founder Rick McKinley suggests, "Christians get all bent out of shape over the fact that someone didn't say 'Merry Christmas' when I walked into the store. But why are we expecting the store to tell our story? That's just ridiculous" (see Time magazine article here and CNN story here).

I tend to agree.

Should it really matter to Christians if the Gap or other organizations censor their use of the word Christmas (see here)? Is my faith somehow dependent on secular culture’s acceptance of my religious symbols? Is not society’s support of clean water projects – one of Advent Conspiracy’s proposed gift alternatives – more important than a store clerk wishing me a sentimental Christmas greeting?

So, as we celebrate advent – this time of expectation for Immanuel, the “God with us” event of Christ's birth – Advent Conspiracy reminds us that celebrating Christmas moves us from the grandiose sentimentalism we often take for granted to a recognition that in the most plain and ordinary of circumstances (a stable in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago), God’s love is most profoundly known.

Merry “Conspiring” Christmas to you all!


Darren said...

I totally agree - I have wondered for a long time why Christians are so worried about someone at Walmart saying Merry Christmas or not. Like you said Dave, is our faith really so fragile that it needs to be constantly affirmed by popular culture?

I'm actually pleased that the "holiday season" is being associated with Christ less and less while it becomes more and more obvious that the real lord being worshiped is the dollar and that consumerism reigns. Let the world have it's holiday and let the Christians worship their God - why do the two have to have anything to do with each other?

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