The Advent Conspiracy
To prepare our hearts for Christ coming into our hearts this Christmas, our church will be reading The Advent Conspiracy.
Over a decade ago, a few pastors were lamenting how they’d come to the end of an Advent season exhausted and sensing they’d missed it – the awe-inducing, soul-satisfying mystery of the incarnation.
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FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 3, 2023 | “Worship Fully” based on Matthew 2:1-12
Synopsis: Christmas begins and ends with Jesus. It’s all about Him. Too much of Christmas has become too much about everything else but Jesus. Especially in this season, we need to reorient our hearts in awe of the One who has come into this world. The magi who visited Jesus after His birth had the right intent. They saw Jesus, and they simply worshiped. They opened their hearts and their treasures to honor the King of Kings that had been born into the world and born into their lives. We, too, need to spend this season – not being consumed by the spirit of consuming – but by intentional moments of worship and surrender. Any other way of spending Christmas is no Christmas at all.
Themes: worship, surrender, awe, preparation, glory
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 10, 2023 | “Spend Less” based on 1 Timothy 6:6-21
Synopsis: Spend less and free up resources for things that matter to Jesus. This would make great sense to celebrate Jesus in this way, wouldn’t it? The Bible warns often about greed and materialism. The love of money is the root of all evil. We are not to be haughty with our riches, but we need to understand how God is rich with us. When our pursuit stops being about money and spending, we begin to find time, space, resources to devote to more important matters of Christmas: experiencing the holy, embodying godliness, practicing generosity and experiencing the life that truly is life. Our conspiracy against consumerism may actually save our souls.
Themes: devotion, holiness, godliness, generosity, purity, humility
SUNDAY DECEMBER 17, 2023 | “ Give More” based on Matthew 1:18-25
Synopsis: Christmas is the time to remember that Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. The “with-God” life is what brings us together as the SRVUMC community. And so, during this blessed season, we make a greater effort to remember the presence of God in our lives and to emulate God’s “with-ness” to the people around us. As we spend less on presents, we are called to give more of our presence. Give more of our attention. Give more of our time. Give more of our love. Give more of our hearts. In the same way that God’s greatest gift to humanity was God-self, may our greatest gift to each other be our-self.
Themes: Emmanuel, God’s presence, self-sacrifice, sharing, loving others, grace, gift
SUNDAY DECEMBER 24, 2024 | “Love All” based on Luke 2:1-16
Synopsis: Having committed to worshiping fully, to spending less and giving more, we now move to where it really counts: to love all. The story of Christmas takes place in an overlooked town, in a context where there was no room to receive the Good News… and so the story moves to the fields and the Good News is declared to overlooked shepherds. This is not by chance! God chooses the lowly and the outcasts, the misfits of society, to be the first recipients of God’s love and favor. Christmas does not discriminate. Christmas is not exclusive. It is the saving message for ALL PEOPLE. Our response then should be to follow suit. To love all… to make room… and to welcome in the name of the One who welcomes us.
Themes: loving people, Jesus’ birth, angels message, humility, grace, inclusion, welcome