This podcast episode is the last one for 2013! Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season! I am providing a full transcript of this episode below so you can see what I believe the Advent Conspiracy is about.
Welcome to the Christian Homeschool Moms Podcast. This is a special podcast- one just with the Christmas holidays in mind. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior this week, I wanted to share some insights about the holiday season that will hopefully encourage you, homeschooling mom or dad, to remember the reason we are celebrating.
Just last week we attended a local church service that is participating in the Advent Conspiracy. According to the website, it’s defined as “an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.”
It’s where instead of reaching for cash to purchase the next toy being loudly advertised on television commercials, we instead decide to focus on worshipping Christ fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all. The ideas of the Advent Conspiracy movement can be found at their site- http://www.adventconspiracy.org/.
The reason I like this Advent Conspiracy movement is because it frees us to focus on the reason we are gathering for Christmas holidays to begin with.
How many of us have felt the guilt and frustration of buying presents for others but not having the money to pay for it all? There is enormous amounts of pressure on moms and dads to spend, spend, spend- and choosing just the right present and then waiting in a long checkout line at the mall where you’re tempted to buy more was just never my idea of how my holidays should be spent.
Don’t get me wrong- I love buying presents for my kids and just like any of us I have my kids’ gift wish list tucked away and a few presents already wrapped and under the tree. But this year I feel more aware of the emptiness that people can feel around the holiday season, and many times it has to do with the stress of not having enough money, and honestly, we just shouldn’t feel those icky, depressing feelings around the holiday season- and especially not over gift-giving.
The biggest gift we can give to our loved ones is the gift of love. You can love one another in creative ways (it doesn’t have to be a neat little expensive present wrapped up and tucked under the tree). You can spend quality time with a family member. You could offer a movie night with one of your kids or a date night with your spouse. Spending time with someone doesn’t cost a dime- or at least it doesn’t have to. According to the Advent Conspiracy website, America spends around $450 billion dollars during the Christmas season. That is a LOT of money for one holiday. Imagine if we spent less, gave more, and loved others around us with more intensity than ever before?
This podcast is not meant to be a downer by any means. You can show love in a lot of different ways, and if you enjoy gift-giving and you’re not getting into debt for it, then you should give gladly. It’s a blessing to be able to give to others in whatever way you can. My parents who live across the country (over 3,000 miles away from us) have not gotten to spend Christmas with us the past 3 years- so now each year they send a Christmas package to our doorstep which is extremely exciting, especially for the kids!
My parents do this because they love us and their grand kids, and just because they can. It blesses them and makes them feel joyful that they can do this for us. And of course, my husband and I love it because it also takes some of the pressure off when you know grandma is already sending a gift you had on your gift list. My point is, gift-giving out of love and enjoyment is ideal- that’s what you want to shoot for. You give because you enjoy it and because you can afford it. If either of those are not true, then you can give in other ways.
Acts of kindness and service to others is a great way to give back during the holiday season. Making Christmas about giving in ways that matter is what helps our children to see the true meaning of the season. When our children are taught that God so loved the world that He gave His son Jesus to us- and that when we reach out and give to others in meaningful ways we’re showing the love of Christ to the world- it makes a tremendous difference in their perception of what Christmas really means.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard that saying: “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
I absolutely love that saying and I remind myself that not only is Jesus the reason for the Christmas season but He is the reason why we give the gift of love to others all year round. While I appreciate that Christmas affords us a special time to spend with family and friends, I also realize that commercialism has really gotten in the way of our views. It’s nice to reflect on the true reason that we’ve come together to celebrate: which is to acknowledge the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Although we don’t know the exact month and date of our Savior’s birth, we can reflect on Christ’s birth and how He came to us humbly in a manger to love the world and show us true Love. Christ’s example of love and humility is a an excellent example of how we are to show love to one another. He gave us himself. Rather than focusing on only the gift-giving and exchanging of material things, let’s follow in Christ’s example and give of ourselves to our loved ones. That equals our energy and time.
Studies have shown that children who were asked as adults what were the most meaningful gifts their parents had given them growing up, that the usual answer is time. They remembered the time spent with them, watching their ball games and piano recitals, cooking with them, playing board games together. The gift of time is the one gift that keeps on giving. When your kids are all grown up, they’ll hopefully follow in your footsteps and make spending time with their own children a priority.
So this holiday season as your kids enjoy opening up their presents on Christmas morning, enjoy it. Take lots of photos, bask in the glorious moments of their childhood and create sweet memories of them opening Christmas gifts, but most of all keep on giving the gift of your time, energy, and love in the days to follow.
Thank you so much for listening in! So, how will you alleviate the pressure of the holiday season this year? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment!
God bless, and have a Merry Christmas. The podcast will be back in January 2014.