The New Holiday Tradition

In my family, Thanksgiving and Christmas have been linked for as long as I can remember.

Throughout our Thanksgiving gatherings with relatives, plans are being made for Black Friday.  Strategies for shopping, where to go and what to buy permeate this holiday.  Sure, we enjoy each others’ company and slowly digest some awesome food; but the shadow of Black Friday falls on every Thanksgiving…which obviously has big implications for how Christmas will unfold.

As much as I don’t want to portray my family in a materialistic light, I have the sneaking suspicion we’re not alone.

For all that have been in civilization for the past few months, Christmas Season Shopping has been with us since Halloween.  Black Friday deals and shopping hours get more extreme each year.  Between shopping, family plans, and everything else the Christmas Season can bring; it’s easy to just try to survive it.  Enjoying it or being enriched by it seems like a long shot.

This is why our church for the past 2 years has embarked on a different journey during the holidays.  We have partnered with thousands of other churches in the crazy idea that Christmas CAN still change the world and CAN still have meaning for us.  This movement is called Advent Conspiracy.  We have conspired together to resist a culturally taught idea that buying and acquiring “more” will lead to fulfillment.  We have made the tough decision to resist overspending and guilt-induced gifts.  Instead, we want our giving to point towards the Savior we worship at Christmas time.  At Christmas, God gave Himself.  He gave the ultimate “relational gift.”  In His honor, we give relationally.  We give less in quantity; but much more in quality.  We think and work and plan to give gifts that connect our hearts to the receiver.  We go beyond gift cards and cash…we don’t seek the easy way out.  We also give the excess, the amount we didn’t spend on presents, to bless the “least of these” in our world.  Jesus tells us that when we give to them, he receives it as a gift to himself (Matthew 25:40)!

Whether you’ve gone on the journey with us the past few years or not; I’m extending you an invitation to celebrate Christmas differently this year.  My Advent Sermon Series (which begins on Nov. 27th) will focus on 4 words that could transform your Christmas and I hope that you and your family will join us for that. There’s also some info to help you “conspire” with us below.

May your Thanksgiving be Happy and your Friday not be so “Black”! 🙂

Blessings,

Pastor Josh Mackenstein

We will be raising funds for the second year-in-a-row to buy water filters for Haiti.  $50 = Clean Water for One Family…for life!  Our goal is to raise $2,000 in order to buy filters for 40 families that are forced to drink unsafe water.  You can check out how the filter works in the video on my Vodpod on this page.

The Advent Conspiracy promotional video we showed during our worship service last Sunday is on my Vodpod on this page and you can also learn more about Advent Conspiracy here: www.adventconspiracy.org/

Our Free Methodist Child Care Missions Website has alternative online giving, where you can give a gift to honor Jesus for his birthday! http://www.childcareministries.org/give/index.php

Not a “creative” person?  You want to give relationally, but just need some ideas?  Check out this website where many others have listed some great ideas to get you thinking!  http://www.rethinkingchristmas.com/?q=gifts/popular

One last link I’ll share with you is from “Trade As One.”  This is a wonderful organization that funds companies who commit to “fair trade,” or not using slave labor in their merchandise production.  There are some unique and everyday items in their online shop for you to purchase here: http://tradeasone.com/

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 11:16 AM  Leave a Comment  
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