In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s the Christmas season! Houses all around town have lights on them. Stores are pumping out Christmas music over their speakers. And loud advertisements bombard us to purchase gifts for our loved ones.
But on the blog this month, I want to challenge you to approach Christmas a bit differently this year. And to do just that, I am going to use the four “tenets” of a grassroots movement called Advent Conspiracy.
Here is how Advent Conspiracy defines themselves on their website:
“In 2006 five pastors imagined a better Christmas practice for their own communities. Today, Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All.”
I am going to rearrange their four tenets by starting this week on tenet #2: Spend Less.
If you were at last Sunday’s Worship gathering, you heard in the CNN report I showed as part of my message Seek Contentment that it was projected that the average American would spend close to $370 dollars in the 4 days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While this is a boon for businesses and the economy, it’s often quite painful on the bank accounts of most Americans. Often, that $370 goes on a credit card, which easily turns into well over $400 due to interest before it is paid off. (Which means you didn’t actually save money, you just gave a portion of it to the credit card companies!)
But the really sad thing, to me, is that we sacrifice our hard-earned dollars to buy lavish gifts, but the gift is completely forgotten just months or years later.
So this Christmas, I want to encourage you to Spend Less. Rather than convey your love and thoughtfulness through the amount you spend, I challenge you to find creative ways to convey your love and thoughtfulness. It will be better for your bank account, better for your heart, and quite possibly better for your relationships.
One way my family lives this tenet out is we decided years ago to not give our kids 5 or 6 presents each. Instead, we give them each only three presents, each tied to the gifts the Magi gave the Christ Child in Matthew chapter 2. The "myrrh" gift is something practical, the "incense" gift is something to help them grow spiritually during the next year, and the "gold" gift is the thoughtful gift - something we know that will be meaningful to each of our kids. We set a budget for these gifts and stick to it. This helps us to Spend Less each Christmas while making Christmas more meaningful for our kids.
Next week, I am going to write about Give More. Until then, think about how you can Spend Less this Christmas, while still making this one of the best Christmases you can remember.
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