Thursday, August 23, 2007

Christmas Thoughts

I came across news yesterday about a group of churches who want to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors God. I have always struggled with a disconnect between Jesus and Christmas. So many of our celebrations and traditions have very little to do with him. Think of all the energy that people have spent, trying to squeeze Jesus into gift-giving, decorating and singing about snowmen.

Rick McKinley is pastor of Imago Dei, a church in Portland. His church got together with four other churches to begin a new way to do Christmas. They recognized four elements of the first Christmas and translated those elements into today’s world.

First, worship. People worshiped Jesus, and it changed their lives: the shepherds, Anna, Simeon, then later the magi.

Second, resisting the empire. Jesus’ coming was very subversive to the existing empire of Herod. But the subversion was not at all like Herod expected.

Third, relational giving. God’s gift to us was relationship through Jesus.

Finally, redistribution. Jesus became poor so that we could become rich. That’s the ultimate in redistribution of wealth.

This group of churches took those themes and applied them to real life in America. They urge Christ followers to

-Worship Jesus by focusing on him, not consumerism.
-Resist the empire by refusing over-spending at Christmas.
-Participate in relational giving with gifts such as pictures, art, or a trip to a ballgame or concert.
-Share in redistribution by giving to make a difference – to missions or to fight world hunger.

What really blows me away is the report that $10 billion will provide clean water for the entire world. Last year Americans spent $457 billion at Christmas.

What if all Christ followers viewed Christmas as a time to impact the world? Image the way that would really change the world.

See the article about Advent Conspiracy here.