love all

Ok, last installment on Advent Conspiracy:

#1 [Worship Fully]

#2 [Spend Less]

#3 [Give More]

#4 [Love All]

“For God so loved the world...”

This familiar phrase sums up the Christmas message. “God is love” tangibly expressed in the very midst of human experience. “Immanuel, God with us” - with us as human. With all of us. Advent Conspiracy is rooted in this reality.

Yet for Christians, especially in a multicultural society of often-competing worldviews and religious celebrations, it can be tempting to think the Christmas story is mainly for us. Hence the fight to hang onto the true meaning of Christmas, better known as the “war on Christmas” or the “Christmas Controversy.” I wonder, however, if this desire to dictate the celebration of Christmas has more to do with Christians’ stubbornness than their faithfulness. Christians want to have their voice; and somehow it’s expected that secular culture will be a primary vehicle for the message. In the language of feasting (appropriate this time of year), it’s demanded that Christmas be one of the main courses at the religious smorgasbord of modern N.A. culture. While all this may be true to some degree historically and culturally, the fight for Christmas by Christians, I believe, has become a distraction. Christmas has become about us: Our celebration. Our traditions. Our God.

This last theme of Advent Conspiracy acknowledges the full message of Christmas: God loves all. And so should we. As the website points out, “When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins.” If you think back to the first Christmas, who was first to celebrate the birth? Royalty? Religious folks? 'Normal' people? No, it was shepherds. The people we might call “blue collar” nowadays. Or worse, people we might simply label as “them.” In the Christmas story, you see, all people have been included from the beginning.

As you gather with family and friends to enjoy feasts, exchange gifts, worship together, remember that the story - the reality - of God with us isn’t just for you. It’s not your right to celebrate Christmas. It’s a gift - a gift for all.

I'll leave you with the song I've had in my head all week - "Feed the World"

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