Every year, right around the first of December, I get this feeling that is what I can only describe as a combination of jitters and pixie dust and energy in my chest/stomach region. I know that description sounds ridiculous, but I have no other way to describe it. It’s a feeling of anticipation, but not nervous anticipation, it’s excited anticipation. I get giddy about Christmas. And it’s not about the presents, or the family time, or the scent of evergreens, or the twinkling of lights, or the sentimental music, or the delicious cookies, or even sweet movies (although, I love having my senses bombarded with reminders of the season). It’s excitement about preparing for the celebration of Christ’s coming.
I love advent. I love that every year, I get to celebrate that Christ came, and He continues to come into my life over and over again, bringing me hope, love, joy, peace, and Himself.
Instead of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of parties, dinners, gift and cookie exchanges, shopping, and all of the stress that goes along with it, my husband and I decided pretty early in our marriage to focus our time and resources into celebrating (I have no less cheesy way to say this) the real reason for the season. It’s not that we don’t go to parties or give gifts, it’s not about being ‘Scroogey’ or countercultural for the purpose of being different, but it is about keeping the “why behind” all of this season at the forefront of our actions.
We were overjoyed to learn about a movement called Advent Conspiracy a few years ago, whose aim is to promote their motor: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. It fit with our passions for the Christmas season.
And Advent Conspiracy and my husband and I aren’t the only ones who are changing the way we “do Christmas”. I’ve read numerous blog posts and tweets about this idea this season. People who are asking: What if instead of determining a price range and exchanging gifts off a list, we gave to an organization whose mission fit with our personal passions? What if we “adopted” a child or a family instead of giving gifts to one another? What if instead of gorging on cinnamon rolls and coffee Christmas morning, we were serving food to people without homes? What if we purchased gifts with significance; ones that benefited local businesses, microenterprise ventures and nonprofit organizations? What if the gifts that we give were fairly or directly traded?
What about you and your family: How do you celebrate the Christmas season? Do you participate in Advent Conspiracy or other movements who promote changing the way we “do” Christmas? Do you have a favorite organization you support, local nonprofit where you volunteer, local business you support, or fair trade/microenterprise venture?