Dear Church Family,
As we journey through Advent together, I want to share something which I’ve found very meaningful. It is the Advent Conspiracy, which is both a book and a movement (www.adventconspiracy.com). Having observed that Jesus is increasingly at the periphery of Advent and Christmas—while consumerism is increasingly at the center—a group of ministers asked a strikingly simple question: How can we help Christians and churches move toward the true meaning of Christmas? Their four-fold answer was also striking, both in its simplicity and in its depth.

Worship fully. If Christmas is to be about Christ, it begins with making time for private devotion and corporate worship. (I trust you know that there are resources for both right here at FBG!) Relationships strengthen when we invest time and energy in them, and no relationship is more important than this one.

Spend less. Last year global spending related to Christmas topped a trillion dollars (yes, trillion, with a tr-), and most of that was spent on people like us, who have everything we need and much of what
we want. (That’s why it’s so hard to shop for our family and friends, because we all have so much.)

Give more. Instead of giving affluent people things they don’t need, what if we gave generously to help those who don’t have the things we often take for granted? In our context, our Mission and Ministry Plan provides people in our community with food, shelter, medical care, and more; and the Lula Whilden World Missions Offering helps provide those things for people literally around the world.

Love all. While we tend to focus on family and friends, Jesus spent his life pushing the boundaries of love beyond family and friends to include all people. Remember, love is not merely a feeling; it is demonstrating compassion and caring through personal behaviors and meeting people’s needs. What better way could there be to celebrate the One who is love incarnate?!

I wish you a very meaningful Advent and a very joyful Christmas!

—Tony

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