November 17, 2008

The Advent Conspiracy

“On your mark. Get set. Go!”

In 10 days we’ll gather to celebrate perhaps the nicest, coziest, most enjoyable holiday of the year. Thanksgiving comes with little pretense and expects little preparation. I mean, it’s pretty much the same menu every year. No surprises. No stress.

And then, before we’ve even had time to digest the stuffing and pumpkin pie, we’re off! Forget the dishes; we’ll do them later. It’s time to get ready for Christmas. Time to shop. Make lists and check them twice. Shop. Decorate. Entertain. Shop. Bake. Wrap. Shop.

What did you say? There are only 37 days until Christmas?

What?! Only 37 days! It’s not even officially ’tis the season and I’m already behind. Typing this makes my pulse race and my stress level rise. I need to get busy. Right now!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas. I love the songs, the traditions, the decorations, the anticipation, and of course the celebration. But I HATE, HATE, HATE the shopping. Shopping for stuff the recipients probably don’t even want, may not like and possibly will never use. Don’t we all have enough stuff already, anyway? Do our loved ones feel more loved by our purchases? Or often, do they feel let down? Rarely can reality meet the expectations with which we embellish Christmas.

Each Christmas for the past several, I’ve tried to simplify. But each year, come Christmas Eve I end up feeling stressed out. At the very moment I want to feel the most joy, I find the most tension. The good will to men gets lost somewhere between the wrapping paper and the mall parking lot.

That’s why when I was in church yesterday and they showed a video entitled Advent Conspiracy, I said, “YES! This is it! This is what I (and hopefully my husband, too) am going to do this Christmas.”

Judging by the glazed faces of my friends and family during the pre-Christmas rush, I’m not alone in my thinking. What would it look like if, together, we all said, “STOP!” and then redesigned Advent. What if we made it a time to develop relationships, nurture our families, build meaningful traditions and honor the very reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place: Jesus.

Take a look at this video. Tell me what you think. What changes are you inspired to make this Christmas season?

If you want to give your presence this Christmas, click here to go to Advent Conspiracy for more information and some really helpful ideas on how to take this idea further.

Imagine what we can do.


Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, the shopping is probably the most stressful part for me, too -- the time factor and the distance I have to go to shop are a big part of that, though.

I do enjoy giving gifts, especially to my immediate family. Not sure I'd want to give that up, but it could probably be simplified.

Thanks for passing along the video. Very thought provoking -- and makes a lot of sense. Good luck trying to de-stress your season. I try to do this as much as possible too.

Sue J. said...

This year, I'm doing a special Advent blog on my Mothers of PreSchoolers website. A daily focus on what Jesus brings with His coming--which we get to celebrate every year (truly, every day, when we think about it)!

I DO make gifts, and bake, and have a brunch for my friends--but these things in themselves can have a life of their own. I've gotten much better about keeping these opportunities simple. Doing more of these things WITH my girls, not just FOR my girls has been great. And that includes the giving for the poor, hungry, etc.

The goal, of course, is not to just focus things on Advent, but to remember that the Advent, until His coming again, is daily!

I will go visit the website for some ideas, because we Christians should be thinking about reclaiming a few holidays that have gone secular.

Justin said...

Kelli. Wow. This is awesome.

I'm preaching on December 7 and on December 24. You had aleady provided me with plenty of sermon illustrations before this video, but now I have even more from which to draw. Thank you!

I love all that this video said. Down to the very last word. Let's conspire together!

Romans 15:13,


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Awesome video! I'm going to show it to my husband and maybe we can use it in worship this Sunday or next! Let me tell you about my "deal of the day" today. I stopped in at a new discount store that just opened called "Ollies". It's like a Big Lots. Anyway, the book section was amazing! I bought:

2 Erwin McManus books ("uprising" and "chasing daylight")
Beverly Lewis' "Annie Series (3 books)
John Eldredge's "Epic"
Ruth Graham's "A Legacy of Love"
Tommy Tenney's "The Road Home"
Ken Gire's "Life as we would want it: life as we're given it"
A leather Holman CSB Bible and journal

for a total of $36. I would have spent more if I had more to spend, but I was able to get some "good gifts" for a bargain! I don't think these will make it to the trash heap anytime soon. I didn't intend on buying anything for Christmas this early but am learning to take advantage of sales, free shipping, and being purposeful about what I purchase.

I also took my kids to the local pottery shop where they "painted" gifts for grandparents. Fun and done! We also pick a cause...this year, soldiers overseas. We live in a military town, so it was an easy pick this year (homemade cards, goody bags, etc.).

Less is best, especially when done early, so keep watching for an Ollies and for free shipping. And while others think it a bit early to get moving, I'm moving early this year so I can enjoy my family more during December. I'm also saying "no" to many outside events that don't include my kids.


Terri Tiffany said...

Awesome video Kelli!! I hate when Christmas is all about the gifts--the best year we had was when we made everyone something as we could enjoy the present for a longer time.
We aren't doing much this year with the economy etc. but have decided to host a Sunday school party--haven't done that in years and I look forward to it.

Julie Gillies said...

WOW, Kelli, what a POWERFUL video. I'm e-mailing it to my entire address box.

Not only am I NOT a shopper, (I rarely shop except the grocery/Walmart for household stuff). I feel so strongly about this - it's gotten to where I HATE Christmas for exactly the reasons shown.

This year I have decided that we're supporting Samartian's Purse global efforts. Not ONLY are we doing our annual Shoebox ministry, but we are purchasing freedom for children.

For $75 you can BUY A CHILD BACK from an awful human-traffickers. For $9 you can feed a hungry baby for a week. For $45 you can purchase a Family Survival Kit, for $15 clothing for children. You get the idea...there is SO MUCH NEED.

THANK YOU for posting this!

Sassy Granny ... said...

What a wonderful video, and what an equally wonderful way to get us thinking about the real meaning of the holidays.

Years ago hubby and I quit fussing with all the usual mayhem, preferring to do other things with our time and money. What freedom!

Be blessed,

tony said...

Hey Kelli, Tony Biaggne here. I serve as the Creative Director for Advent Conspiracy. I also helped write and direct the video you posted. Thanks again for your support, and for visiting our website! We need all the help we can get to get this thing off the ground. I encourage everyone to register onto our site and add their own story on the page titled "Enter The Story". We'd love to see how AC changed your Advent Season!

God Bless,

Tony Biaggne
Creative Director
Advent Conspiracy/Windsor Crossing

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

I love that "Thanksgiving comes with little pretense..."! That is my favorite part of Thanksgiving....little pretense. Just cozy, warm, relaxing, savory...time with family!

I haven't watched the video yet, but I will.

Happy, warm Thanksgiving to you and yours, Kelli!


Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for your insights on my questions this week about blogging! I love that you write how you do for God!

Chatty Kelly said...

That was really good. It's such a balancing act - the holidays. It's like everyone wants a little piece of you. I like the idea of not only spending less, but doing less. Loved the video. thanks.