A couple weeks ago, we heard those words preached on a Sunday morning.
It’s about revolting against the consumer-Christmas.
And instead, pursuing a servant’s heart throughout the holiday season.
Invest the time you’d normally spend caught up in the Christmas craze
In fellowship, invitation, and loving others well.
Can you imagine,
A December looking outward
Instead of a December looking inward?
I get it.
Last year, we moved intentionally in this direction (even if it was baby steps). But, if I am being completely honest, my heart was a little hesitant. I feared, more than anything else, that my kids would be disappointed. I literally wait all year for that Christmas morning turn-the-corner-and-see-the-mountain-of-presents-under-the-tree-light-up-the-whole-face photo. One year, Niamh put both her hands on her rosy little cheeks and screamed. You can literally hear the photo. It’s amazing.
As last December came and went, our kids had so much fun looking for ways to bless others, the slightly smaller stack of gifts under the tree (I didn’t pare down a ton~ but I did try and the present pile shrunk) was not even noticed. I mean, we were intentionally taking small steps toward a less consumer-driven Christmas, and the kids were on board. Without even a waver.
I learned two things~
One, I should never be seeking my kids approval before seeking Jesus'.
Two, I should give my kids a little more credit. They have hearts full of love and are ready and willing to serve and do it happily, even if that cuts into their present piles.
So, a couple weeks ago, after we all listened to a beautiful sermon on this advent conspiracy, they asked on the drive home to only get a few presents this Christmas. A nine and eleven-year old asked for less presents. Did you catch that? It’s like this infectious thing of giving and loving~ and once you get a taste, Christmas cannot possibly ever, ever, ever look the same again. Even kids revolt. It’s beautiful.
We discussed a pretty small (and possibly offensive) number of gifts per child~ and they high fived me and moved on in their day. Later, I asked how they felt about changing up the advent calendar this year~ the one full of tiny doors that usually house tiny treats and tiny toys. I asked if we could just abandon it altogether and do 25 acts of kindness instead. That request took a moment of thought, but they agreed and are pretty excited about planning a month full of small blessings for others.
There is still a lot of room for growth. We definitely aren’t running on the front lines of this Christmas revolution; but each year, we can choose to walk closer to Jesus. And as we walk more in step with Him each holiday, we choose to look more radical in our expectations, actions, and hopes.
I look forward to holiday traditions being created in our family where the joy and excitement of the season center fully on Jesus~ so that our remembering Him isn’t some lame Happy Birthday song sung as an afterthought following presents on Christmas morning… but instead, we conspire to live like our Savior, especially as we celebrate His birth.
It is weird and unexpected, but the more you strip away the things that make Christmas seem glamorous and full, the richer and more life-giving the holiday season becomes. But then, that seems to be the daily call of Jesus when He extends the invitation to follow Him. He asks you to abandon the ideals of the world and follow Him into the lowest places, serving and loving others. He kind of flips everything on its head; it is all backwards and upsidedown. And then your heart is so full, it could burst.
A crazy, backwards holiday according to the world…
All because of a King in a manger.
Who chose to come down, so that we can be lifted up.
He is a King worth revolting for.
If you want to learn more about a kind-of-backwards-but-totally-awesome Christmas, click here.
Or just watch the video below.
(...Thank you Mel :)