(Re)Telling the Christmas Story
As the Holidays get into full swing and Christmas quickly approaches, it is easy to get caught up in the season. There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, trees to decorate, and families to visit.
None of those things are inherently bad, actually some are quite good in and of themselves. But do you ever feel like there is a disconnect between what we do leading up to Advent and those things we profess about it?
I often feel that way. I love the Christmas season, but at times the materialism that defines it is quite disheartening. We do things in our churches to shove down this contradiction, buying goats for villages in Africa or sending out shoeboxes of toys, but in the end the narrative we hear around the Holidays remains the same.
According to the authors of Advent Conspiracy there is another way to approach our celebration of the Messiah’s birth.
How? In their words, “substitute consumption with compassion by practicing four simple but powerful, countercultural concepts: Worship Fully—because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus! Spend Less—and free your resources for things that truly matter. Give More—of your presence: your hands, your words, your time, your heart. Love All—the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, and the sick in ways that make a difference.”
There are books and DVDs to help work through this reframing of Christmas. Of course, these are not the only people concerned about the message we are sending at Christmas. For example Common Prayer has a section devoted to Advent which presents a contemplative, sacrificial approach to the season.
And, since we all experience the holidays, we all can learn from each other as well. So, what practices and traditions do you and your family have which are meant to better tell the story of Christmas?
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