Bulletin Column – December 1, 2019
Title: Advent Conspiracy
Well, it’s Advent (or according to the secular world, it’s the Christmas season…or rather, the Christmas season started on November 1 when I saw the first Christmas ad of the season). And every year we are admonished to remember the Reason for the Season – Jesus Christ, not Santa Claus.
But this year, why not do so radically? A few years back I came across an amazing website: Advent Conspiracy (www.adventconspiracy.org). The website – and the movement – was started by three Protestant pastors who felt like every year they got so caught up with all the busy-ness of the season (presents! parties! cookies! ugly sweater contests!) that they never felt connected to the amazing wonder of the Incarnation of our God.
The Advent Conspiracy movement asks people to enter into Advent with four tenets:
~ Worship Fully. Put God-centered traditions into this season. Growing up, my family would light an advent wreath every day and say prayers around it – a powerful recognition of Who we are celebrating. Perhaps a daily family prayer around a crèche scene would be helpful. Definitely come to Mass every Sunday, or perhaps more frequently if possible!
Also, did you know that Advent is supposed to be a penitential season, like Lent? What would it be like if you decided to “give up” something for Advent like we do with Lent? I’m going to do that this year – anyone else want to give it a try? That will make Christmas a day bursting with joy!
~ Spend Less. We often buy things because we think we have to. “Gotta get a gift for my kid’s piano teacher!” Why? Do we think the piano teacher will despise us if we don’t give them the $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card (when he doesn’t even drink coffee?). We feel the “peer pressure” to make sure our list is long so that we don’t become “that one parent” who didn’t give the teacher a gift, or “that one employee” who didn’t do something for the boss. Why not this year say, “Enough!” Instead of buying all these gifts, maybe say a Rosary for these people on your list. Or give a donation to charity in their name. Or just not do anything at all, because there is no requirement whatsoever that you have to give more stuff to people at Christmas!
~ Give More. The gifts that truly matter are time and relationships. The toys will soon get broken and gather dust. But maybe instead of another Saturday out shopping FOR your kids, you can spend a Saturday WITH your kids – making cookies, going for a walk, or doing something else fun. Instead of buying another coffeeshop gift card, take your coworker OUT for coffee, and really listen. Give less of your money and more of yourself.
~ Love All. Remember all that money we saved by not buying gift cards for your boss? Why not give that money to the poor, or to a charity, or to the Church? It would do so much more good in the hands of the needy than yet another Christmas ornament on a tree stuffed full of them.
I truly, ardently believe that the materialism and frantic busyness of the Advent season is a work of Satan. He wants us to focus on toys, gifts, and parties, while Christ wants us to focus on peace, love, and worship of His Incarnation. Satan has so distorted this season that the vast majority of the world sees it as only a secular “winter celebration” filled with reindeer, snowflakes, and cookies. And while it is harmless to bake cookies and attend parties; while there’s nothing wrong with buying presents for others, we cannot let it consume us to the point that we do not remember the why behind all of the frantic stuff on our to-do list.
The “why” is Jesus Christ, the Word-Made-Flesh.
This year I’ll be observing the Advent Conspiracy. Will you join me?