Advent Conspiracy Invitation

A couple years ago, Lesley and I heard about some churches that were trying to ‘do Christmas’ a little differently. They looked at the consumer bloodbath that surrounds the holiday and wondered how it had morphed into what it’s become. They looked at the Christmas narratives in the bible and saw profoundly subversive stories – stories that announce a new way of doing things, of living in the world and relating to the powers that shape our lives. They considered some of the global problems we faced and realized that if Americans took a fraction of what they spend on Christmas gifts and instead turned that towards solutions to these problems, a real difference could be made. Lesley and I were compelled by these ideas, we were tired of all the stress, credit card debt, and exhaustion that inevitably surrounded the holiday, and  we decided to start practicing Christmas differently. 


So for the past several years, we’ve sought to give different kinds of gifts – gifts of time spent, crafts made or creative gifts, gifts of food that we then share with the recipients. No joke, these have been the best, most meaningful gifts we’ve ever been able to give people. We’ve been able to invest a bit of ourselves into these gifts, rather than just check off our list of buying things out of obligation for relatives. 


In addition, we’ve spent less money, and we’ve been able to use the money we didn’t spend on meaningless gifts to give to charities that we felt were doing important work, both at home and around the world. 


If you think this sounds interesting, we want to invite you to join us this year. We want to host a series of weekly gatherings at our house, where we can spend a little bit of time talking about how the typical US-consumer ways of Christmas are actually antithetical to the themes of Advent and Christmas, which are hope, joy, peace, and love. Then, we want to scheme and conspire ideas and ways in which to give better gifts, sharing our talents and resources with each other, and then giving some of the surplus money we save to help others. 


We’re going to start October 23rd at our house and meet every Tuesday until Thanksgiving. It seems early, but some of the creative gifts take a little more time and intention than finding a parking space at the mall. We’ll start at 6:30, provide some food (and you’re welcome to bring something to share) and be done by 8:30. 


Please RSVP and let me know if you can come. We hope you’ll join us! You can check out more about Advent Conspiracy here. 


~ by Joe Paparone on October 9, 2012.

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