Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

I love Thanksgiving for the built-in four days of family time. And I love it because it helps center me before the Christmas frenzy begins.

But this year, I'm starting early and trying to write a different story for our Christmas. My church, Windsor Crossing, is one of four churches that founded the Advent Conspiracy movement a few years ago (before we ever started attending there). Here's a short video that helps explain it:

(I get goose bumps every time I see that!)

Last year was the first time I heard of AC, and I loved the premise. Spend less time buying less gifts, and donate the money you DON'T spend to someone who needs it desperately. Put the focus on Jesus and spending time with those you love, instead of time at the store.

Now, of course, that doesn't mean we're not buying anything this year. It just means that we're not going hog wild. Yes, I will be shopping on Black Friday. Yes, Santa will still be coming to our house. But things will be different.

For one thing, both my extended family and Dan's extended family have agreed to buy gifts only for the kids. That cuts my shopping list down a lot.

Secondly, we've talked with Katie about receiving fewer gifts from us and Santa. She thinks one from Santa and three from us is enough. Those three will represent the three gifts given to Jesus (gold, frankincense and myrrh).

Thirdly, we are hosting an Advent Conspiracy small group in our house every week leading up to Christmas. We are reading the book that our pastor co-wrote, and watching a DVD to help guide the group.

Fourth, we are donating to Advent Conspiracy through our church. This summer, Katie and her friends had a lemonade stand and collected money to donate to Living Water and Advent Conspiracy. Katie has been saving that money in her room for six months, waiting for the Christmas services at church. That's when all the offerings collected will go straight to Living Water.

Katie and her friends also made some bracelets and ornaments to sell during the Christmas season. They cost a quarter each and the money will be donated to Advent Conspiracy. Our friend Sheryl took some to her office to sell today, and she was almost sold out before lunch. We'll also be taking some to our family Thanksgiving gathering to sell.

To help us get in the spirit, I also made Katie an Advent Conspiracy shirt. The movement's four cornerstones are listed on the shirt: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.

Lastly, I put together an envelope book (I got the idea here) to help us count down to Christmas. In each envelope, there is an activity for us to do to celebrate the season. I tried to make them either free activities or very cheap, so the focus was on spending time and not money. (I posted the list of activities here.)

All of these things are in addition to our regular holiday traditions - things like lighting the candles in the Advent wreath each night, reading Christmas stories, lighting luminaries on Christmas Eve, and our annual Journey to Bethlehem.

All of a sudden... my heart is stirring. Looking back at some of those links above to last year's Christmas and the Journey to Bethlehem has gotten me excited. I am actually looking forward to the month of December this year. Wow! That's hard to imagine, since I sort of dreaded it in years past. I can't wait to see the joy we share this December, and can't wait to start living the components of Advent Conspiracy.

Worship Fully. Spend Less. Give More. Love All.


Gina said...

Please post your list!!! Love your ideas!

Susanna said...

Hi Elizabeth,

My name is Susanna and I'm a writer for Living Water International. I stumbled across your blog post this morning and loved what I read...I'd like to link to this post from an AC story that will be featured on The hope is that the story of what you and your family are doing to raise money for AC will inspire others to do the same. Would you be OK with me linking to your blog from a story on You can email me at and let me know. Thanks, and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

You're so awesome!! I still wish I could come to your AC small group. ;)


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