More on Advent Conspiracy:
#1 [Worship Fully]
#2 [Spend Less]
How we spend says a lot about what we value. And I’m not just talking about money. How we spend our time, our energy, our resources and even ourselves reveals a lot.
I’ll admit, “spend less” is probably my least favorite of the Advent Conspiracy themes. It’s difficult to imagine and can quickly develop into guilt or misguided decisions. I know it's not supposed to be Scrooge-like, but spend less on what? Unless we’re all ready to move into the mountains and remove ourselves from society, spending less can become a confusing chorus that echoes impulsive non-spending. Don’t get me wrong, I think we could do with a lot less spending, especially on things we don’t need. Let’s just be clear on why we’re spending less (or at least spending differently).
I’d actually prefer the theme “spend well.” I think our excessive spending problem is largely the result of excessive ignorance - we don’t think about how we spend our money (or time, energy, etc...). Spending well means thinking through our priorities.
If we look at the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph likely had to do some serious thinking around the direction their lives took those few angelic visitations. It’s clear Joseph wasn’t impulsive. He rationalized a way out of the situation (divorce), yet became convinced to “spend less” on his own reputation by following through with the marriage to Mary (Mt. 1:18-25). The journey to Bethlehem; the birth in a stable; a detour to Egypt - all examples of re-prioritizing their lives. Their decisions were focused and informed by a knowledge of their role in the world - parents of “Emmanuel.” Interestingly, we never consider the financial strain being parents to the son of God could have put on Mary and Joseph. What would have happened if they refused to re-prioritize? Refused to "spend well"? In a way, God relied on their re-prioritizing for his plan to be fulfilled.
Hmm...there’s something to think about...