I'm no Jesus freak. A Christian, yes. But much to my Lutheran parents' chagrin, no longer a church-goer. I've essentially reached the conclusion that the church is a good venue for people to affirm their faith and to build community, but isn't necessary for nurturing a relationship with God. I sort of think of church like Weight Watchers － you go to the meetings for introspection, inspiration, rededication and a sense of not being alone on your path.
Still, I'm intrigued and inspired by Advent Conspiracy. This movement, launched two years ago by five pastors, was originated as a resource for churches to more fully engage in authentic worship and giving at Christmas. It's about bringing Christmas back to basics. Quoth the homepage:
The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope and revolutionary love.
So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams and shopping lists.
What if Christmas became a world-changing event again? Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.
So, while I'm no Jesus freak, I definitely believe in what Jesus was all about, which was peace, love, giving and treating each other like you want to be treated. So I love the simple concept behind Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully. Spend Less (money). Give More (time). Love All.
This year, they say, Give Presence.
You don't need to be a Jesus freak to see that's the meaning of Christmas.