Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Christmas is just about my favorite time of the year, for so many reasons. And, considering we haven't been able to truly celebrate the season the way we would like to the past few years, this Christmas is already turning out to be more special than usual.
Last night, with the help of some hot chocolate and apple pie, Tricia and I decorated our own tree for the first time since 2006! Some of my most treasured possessions are the ornaments that I've been collecting my entire life...not because they carry some great material value, but because every one has a story to tell and memories that will never be forgotten. It will be fun sharing our stories of Christmases past with Gwyneth this year (and keeping her from destroying the bottom of the tree).
This year, Tricia and I are participating in Advent Conspiracy, a global challenge to return Christmas to it's original purpose. We're committed to worship fully, spend less, give more and love all this Christmas season in the hopes that we can help change the world by focusing less on the stuff of Christmas and more on the spirit of Christmas. We'll still celebrate in many of the same ways we always do, but we've also chosen, this month, to be more purposeful about using the blessings God has given us to make a practical and eternal difference in the lives of others. We'll be making personal "sacrifices" so that we can give to those who need and don't just want.
Check out the video below...
Instead of exchanging presents in my mother in law's family, the adults have decided to donated to a charity. This year's charity is The American Cancer Society in honor of my mother in law who we lost to lung cancer two years ago. More giving is what more people need to do.
Last year we gathered with friends and family and made Christmas cookies. Then we made up platters to give as gifts. With each gift we gave a bottle of wonderful vanilla that I bought in Haiti and on the bottle placed a sticker that said "A Gift has been made in your name to the Haitian Chidrens Home"( where my daughter is a full time missionary). We made up a brochure expalining the Advent Conspiracy and asked that the person reciving the vanilla "Pray it Forward" and do the same. I don't know how far the bottles of vanilla went but I can tell you that the smell of cookies in my Manteo home did more than just make the house smell good.
That is so cool! Love the comments and can't wait to see more ideas. We have been somewhat intentional in this, but need more ways to reduce our "presents", and direct that money and energy into caring for those in need. The hardest part is the feeling that people are "expecting" presents from you--and buying them FOR you--and trying to change the expectations without causing disappointment. I wish I had some Haitian vanilla. :-)
I'm off to post the video now.
My church is doing this study in Sunday school and in sermons. Love the concept...bout time.
I am also participating in a Sunday school class based on this movement. So far we have cut out gifts (other wise called the annual exchange of gift cards) with some of the inlaws. We are doing an advent wreath here at home with our kids, so we are worshiping daily as we prepare this advent.
Wow, love this idea. I want my husband to see it. We have been wanting to get into something like this.
how do I put this on my blog??
Our whole church participated in Advent Conspiracy last year. It was great!!
Last year a churh in NY decided to do the Advent Conspiracy and were able to give more that TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to the orpahnage it Haiti.
A good realational gift is making wreaths together. Cost almost nothing.You can use wire coat hangers and get ribbon, etc. at eht Dollar store.
We have set aside each Sundsy afternoon to get together with friends, share a meal, an advent devotion and a project. (Last week was wreaths)
This Sunday we are going to the nursing home and will do Chirstmas caroling and visiting.
For far too long we have allowed ourselves to be robbed of Chirstmas. I love the conspiracy!
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