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November 11, 2008

Rethinking Advent

   Every year my church works strenuously to ensure that we slow down during the Advent season.  We think it is so important that people shift their focus during this season that we strip the worship team down to one person, maybe two.  We don't use powerpoint, the sounds team get the entire season off and we even cancel the last Sunday service of the year completely.  That day, my family and I choose to spend the time together and talk about our experiences through the Advent Season and what it all means to us.  It is the only church I've been a part of that puts this much effort into simplicity.

   This year, I am going to be part of the Advent planning group.  We meet and come up with creative ways to incoroprate the messages of Advent, whether it be liturgy, songs, art, stories, prayer stations or anything else you can think of.  I think when I get there, I think I might suggest we shift a little to help out church body shift their focus of Christmas as a whole.  Then as part of learning to slow down through the values we already encourage, we can also help to change their focus of the season as well.  What as a church can we do to really impact the lives of people here in Laramie and throughout the world.  I'd like to suggest we start by adopting local families and helping provide food for the whole family and presents for the kids.  Then maybe helping with something regional - like we've been doing for several years to Bay St. Louis, MS. Then we can also focus on something on the international level which, in the past, we've used money to purchase goats for families in Africa.  For me, it does not make that much difference what we are doing, provided we are actively taking steps to place the needs of others before our own.  It is such a struggle for a lot of people - myself included - but we have to start somewhere. 

   I saw a video online talking about how it would take about $10 billion to solve the world's water issues and how we spend $450 billion annually on Christmas.  I don't know if it is true or not, but I do know that we are a completely consumeristic society and if we can make small changes to help people without the resources to help themselves then it is probably a good idea.  I'd love to see our church take part in something like this.  It may not be the answer but it is a start.


Anonymous said...

You know, if you're looking for something 'Adventy', my students have been practicing a song at school they will sing for an Advent service and get this - Happy (the bird) chirps right along with them through the whole song and has even been know to bust a move a time or too as well! Seriously though, your church sounds really amazing...I've been struggling with the whole issue of church lately and sometimes think my standards are too high. It just seems to me that churches today aren't anything like what God had in mind and what we, as His creation, long for. Does that make sense?