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Monday, November 1, 2010

The Advent Conspiracy for My Family

By Rob Phillips

With the Advent season coming up I thought I’d share my family’s approach to making Advent more what we consider “Christ Centered” as opposed to self centered.

Last season many of our church families participated in a study called “The Advent Conspiracy” which championed what many of us (notice I didn’t say you?) have often said about trying to take the commercialism out of the Christmas season and have more focus on the “reason for the season”. I don’t know about your family, but we normally do a poor job of this, after saying all the right words we immediately rush out and spend more than we can afford for family and friends in a way placing an unsaid burden on them to reciprocate.

This year we will be trying something different. While still providing for my son and assorted family member kids, we’ve asked our co workers, family and friends not to spend money on presents for us, rather if they feel they need to do something to make a donation in our name to Compassion International or Centro Christiano. In turn we’re asking our normal gift list to let us know their favorite charities and we will be either giving checks with the charity’s name on them, or contributing directly . . . one example is an orphanage that is near and dear to my wife’s mother, her gift will be a support check for that location. The money Miga and I would normally spend on each other will be split between our advent group’s child in Bangladesh and our Spanish church Centro Christiano.

So this year, instead of burdening our loved ones with gift receipts and the task of standing in return lines for stuff they mostly didn’t need or want, or burdening them with the contest of “did we spend enough or too much money on a gift”, we will spend Christmas with our kids opening presents and the adults sharing family time together.

Hmm, “Rob you left out the God part!” . . . oh yeah! We will also be doing home reading of the Birth of Jesus from the Gospels and Isaiah, and praising our savior in his house, for the celebration of his day, with song and celebration along with our home church family. I don’t want to confuse the Gospel with family values stuff, but I am sure God is pleased whenever we turn our focus from ourselves to others in His name.

Rob Phillips

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