Hey there folks,
Check out these two videos. After the videos, I've got a couple challenges for us to take on. Also below the videos is the write up from my Messenger article about the Advent Conspiracy.
The first video captivated me the first time I saw it. I watched it a couple times through. It has really motivated me to act, and I hope that we, as a community, can be motivated as well. Here's my challenges for you:
1) Be creative and proactive with your faith this Advent/Christmas. Don't buy frivolous things, whether they be for you or others. Give your presence, your time...go HERE for some ideas.
2) I plucked 5 names off the Giving Tree. This post has a list of those names and their requests: Giving Tree List
3) It is amazing to me that just $10 Billion could provide clean water to every person on the earth that needs it. Now, don't get me wrong, that's a huge number! However, there are at least 160 million Christians in the US. If each Christian were to give approximately $63 for clean water, we would be able to raise that amount. Our Diocese supports a clean water initiative in Cange, Haiti. The initiative is called the Bread and Water Campaign. Please consider contributing towards this initiative this Advent. Send donations to EYC or the Youth Office.
Here's a little more information about the Advent Conspiracy (from the Dec Messenger):
The Advent Conspiracy
Previously, we’ve talked about bearing fruit through missional living and what it means to be a disciple, so how can we put these concepts into action this season of Advent? The story of Jesus’ birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love. But somehow, it seems that we have gotten to a point where we almost look to Christmas with anxiety because of the looming stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists. Then we end up spent, emotionally and financially, and more relieved than anything in the aftermath. So how can we approach Christmas with the full meaning of what Advent is supposed to be? Welcome to the Advent Conspiracy, a movement calling us to proclaim Christ in how we celebrate Christmas.
Advent starts and ends with Jesus. It is a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated. Exploring the story of Advent involves putting down our burdens as we lift our voices and lives in worship of Jesus.
We all like gifts, especially me, but consider this: America spends an average of $450 Billion a year every Christmas. I would bet that you have given or received a gift that was completely out of obligation. It meant nothing to either person involved. How about we consider giving just ONE LESS GIFT this Christmas. And then consider replacing that gift with something that is more relational. Go visit www.rethinkingchristmas.com for ideas.
God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it is natural that during Christmas we have a natural desire to be with family and friends. Time is our most valuable resource during Christmas, and it is a true gift. Take time to write a letter to a friend or family member. Take time to go look at Christmas lights. Take time to bake cookies with/for your friends. Invite an old friend out for coffee. Give time at your favorite charity. Take time to make love visible through relational giving. Instead of giving presents, give presence.
Jesus loved everyone fully, completely, and in ways that transformed lives. Jesus especially loved those on the margins. He became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join him in giving resources to those who need help the most. For instance, clean water is a rare resource for many in this world. Our Diocese has a great initiative called the Bread and Water Campaign that is raising funds to help provide clean water to the community in Cange, Haiti. Contact Dorian if you would like to help give to the Bread and Water Campaign, and visit the youth blog to learn more about the Advent Conspiracy. May you have a very blessed Advent!
I'm going to add a little bit to what I wrote in the Messenger here...Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't shop or buy gifts. Please, please, please don't take it the wrong way. We just want to move away from excessive hyper-shopping and do our best to shift our focus to missional living and worshipping Jesus as fully as possible during Advent. The focus of Christmas should be on Jesus first and foremost, and then everything else should flow out from there. So, let me know what you think!