4 Ways to Have a RADICAL Christmas
By Pastor Teresita Matos-Post
This week I heard on the news that more and more families are joining the no-gifts on Christmas movement.
I sense that at the heart of this movement, is our desire to find deeper meaning in our celebrations. How many more ties can father have? And do we really need, yet another mug with a “punny” joke? If I am honest, I am not a big fan of the movement. I love to give gifts. Even when is hard and stressful to find the elusive “perfect gift”. Isn’t gift giving part of spreading joy and enriching the spirit of sharing. Perhaps, there are others ways.
A few years ago, I was introduced to the Advent Conspiracy. Three pastors suffering of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) during the advent season, wanted to recapture the mystery and awe of the narrative of Jesus’ birth in their own lives. They came up with four tenets to guide us through the Christmas season. Using these four principles: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All, I will offer my own reflection through Jesus’s birth narratives and simple application to our hectic lives.
#1 SPEND LESS
The stable was not Joseph’s and Mary’s first choice to as the place to give birth to Jesus that night. But the image of a grateful mother, wrapping her baby in cloths and placing him on a manger, inspires me to be content with what I have available.
The call to spend less is really to be conscientious about our shopping habits, and how do they impact communities in other countries, and our environment. Have you noticed most toys are made of plastic? Uh-oh I am starting to sound like the Grinch. Any who, this is not about not spending money at all, but about assessing what we have and find contentment in those blessings.
#2 GIVE MORE
When you spend less, you may have a little extra to give. The shepherds were at the lowest strata of society in the time of Jesus’ birth. Angels invite them to come pay a visit to the new born king. Do you ever pay a visit to a king empty handed? In Scriptures, shepherds come with their sheep, and with amazing news of the angelical announcement they received. A the gift of affirmation, to Mary’s and Joseph’s own announcements experiences. They brought with them the gift of prescence, nothing more. That night at the stable was not a lonely night for the new family. The gift of companionship; priceless.
Perhaps, when we spend less time on shopping trips to the mall, we may have extra time to be present with those who would welcome some of our attention and time.
#3 WORSHIP FULLY
What is Christmas without Christ? X-mas? Mas-s. X marks the spot; mass? Really. There is no helpful way to avoid this one. We can engage in all types of discussions about how do we greet people at Target: Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. I honestly could not care less about that! Our concern, as followers of Christ, ought to be how WE ( not others) honor Christ in one of the two Christian high holy festivals. Instead of imposing on others to say Merry Christmas, our efforts and energy ought to be fully engaged in our own participation in making Christmas merry; and that is to join together en mas-se to worship. To be together with the mass (body) of Christ. The wise men who travelled from Orient to give praises to the new born King were not forced to worship him, bearing gifts. Rather they were called, compelled, convicted through their own beliefs and practices (that is: reading the stars) to come adore baby Jesus: Emmanuel: God with Us. Some come let us adore Him!
#4 LOVE ALL
True worship changes us. We leave behind our own wants and needs and we are left with this sense that we are welcomed, accepted, wanted, and loved. And that is enough!
Old Simeon (Luke 2) held close to his heart a promise from God that he would not die without seeing the Messiah. He was moved in spirit to attend the temple, and behold he crosses paths with Jesus family, who came to present their newborn son according to the rite. Simeon held Jesus in his arms and blessed him saying: “[this is the salvation] which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Jesus came so that we all, the gentiles, would be included in the promise of Israel. God is an all inclusive God. And ALL means ALL. The love we have freely received, is love freely given, so that we can also love freely. Have you ever found a true love that is harmful, condemming, or destructive? I have yet to find it. I suggest: No.
It is nice to reconnect with the people we love and acre about during the holidays. A nice way to make this season radical is to see who is left out? Who is really suffering of FOMO? Include them, invite them, welcome them, want their prescence, and love on them, that same way Christ has loved on you. No conditions.
For more information on the Advent Conspiracy visit: www.adventconspiracy.org.
To read more, see our Newsletter here.The Spirit Newsletter DECEMBER 2018 pdf