Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It starts with Jesus.  It ends with Jesus.  This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas.  It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God.  It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath.  It’s the party of the year.  Entering the story of Advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.

The time of year when worshipping Jesus should be the easiest is often the hardest.  To join the Advent Conspiracy is a call to remain in the gospel of Jesus and worship him.  The transformation initiated by Jesus is no different today than it was the day he was born---the source of joy, peace, and hope hasn't changed.

Christmas changed the world the day Jesus was born in a dark, cold stable.
Mary responded as a humble servant and sang of God's redeeming love.
Joseph was willing to obey without regard to the cost.
The shepherds left their busyness to worship Christ.
The wisemen were willing to confront anything that stood in the way of worship, whether worldly empires or their own fears.

Are you willing to join the story in our own way this year?  We will celebrate, sing, pray, meditate, and love our own way into a story that is of great joy for all people.  Christmas can still change the world!


God’s gift to us was a relationship built on love.  So it’s not wonder why we’re drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible.  Time is the real gift Christmas offers us, and no matter how hard we look, it can’t be found at the mall.  Time to make a gift that turns into the next family heirloom.  Time to write mom a letter.  Time to take the kids sledding.  Time to bake really good cookies and sing really bad Christmas carols.  Time to make love visible through relational giving.  Sounds a lot better than getting a sweater two sizes too big, right?

Think of the gifts that have been most meaningful to you.  What makes that gift stand out to you?  Often times they are gifts that celebrate a relationship, are handmade, are thoughtful, and have meaning.  Whether it is time together doing something you love, or a handwritten letter or a scrapbook filled with photos.  While many of us know this to be true, we have drifted from the liberating truth: The Father gave his one and only Son.  God's answer to the world did not come from a material gift.  He gave Himself.

This simple truth is still a great way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  It also offers us a way out of the chaos and consumerism that Christmas has become.  GIVE relationship.  GIVE presence.

Getting started with gift ideas that involve.  We can gain some ideas from looking at what happened when God gave his one and only Son.  
God gave us his presence.  Matthew's account takes us back to Isaiah, stating "The will call him Immanuel," which means "God with us."  What can this teach us about the way we give Christmas gifts?
BE PRESENT with people.  Face to face.  Spent TIME with someone.  It is the conscious giving of our time to someone we love.  Consider how you can creatively express to a friend or family member how much you want to be with them.

The gift of Jesus was personal.  Luke's account states, "Today, in the city of David, A savior has been born for you."  For YOU!  A very personal gift.  Jesus liked being with people.  He listened, he noticed, he nurtured relationship.  
We have all given and received generic gifts, the kind that demonstrate a lack of thought for the other person but given more out of obligation.  Relational giving requires that we pay attention to the other person.  We think about who they are and what they care about.  

His gift was costly.  Jesus was a most humble servant.  He gave through relationship and cared for others above Himself.  The gift that was given cost God everything.  What does this mean for us as we now give to one another?
Well, it means we have to recognize that relational giving will cost us something.  Relational gifts cost us time and energy.  It will be risky at times.  What if people don't like it?  What if they don't appreciate the time we put into expressing love for them?  Jesus gave knowing that people would reject him.  Part of relational giving is understanding that our gifts might not be appreciated but it might soften hearts.  People might feel valued in a way they haven't before.  These gifts are not about the giver.

If we can resist the trap of giving easy gifts something else might happen.  We might experience moments of relational giving that our friends and family will care about and remember.  Our kids will learn what it means to give gifts that are personal and meaningful.  People around us will watch us celebrate Christmas differently, and they'll hear the good news loud and clear through the seasonal static.

Think about it.  Even if you just try this with one person this Christmas.  Be courageous!

If you have ideas for relational giving, comment below or email you ideas here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Service Family & Weldon Family

Watch as these two awesome families share about how they are thinking differently this Advent season in order to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.


Advent Conspiracy with the Service Family and the Weldon family

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Take Time to Conspire

Dear Providence Church!
It is that time of year again where we challenge ourselves to focus on what the upcoming holiday season is truly about........CHRIST!  Our hope is that as we approach the Advent season, that we would:
Join us on this journey as we take time to pause, pray, and conspire so that this year we can demonstrate that Christmas can still change the world!

Happy dreaming!