Thanks to Tara Pratt for writing this post about the Advent Conspiracy’s theme of Worship Fully.
“These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also…” Acts 17:6
TURN YOUR CHRISTMAS UPSIDE DOWN
This year, First Baptist Church of Asheville is working to make Christmas more meaningful and we are using a program called the Advent Conspiracy to guide us. We are trying to look at Christmas as something more than a time to spend money and receive gifts. Rather, we want the season to focus on the worship of Jesus. Through the practice of worship, we hope to be transformed into people who love our neighbors as ourselves.
All people are our neighbors, of course, so we have to ask – how do we best love them during this Christmas season? Do we love friends and family more by getting gifts they don’t need or want, or do we use those resources to help other people and organizations who are in real need? To that end, First Baptist is offering an Advent Conspiracy store in the Atrium where we can buy alternative gifts that help people throughout our community and world.
We can buy for local groups like Asheville’s Habitat for Humanity or the Irene Wortham Center, or put our money to work internationally by paying a child’s tuition for Anna’s Kids or by sponsoring a young adult’s trip to India. There are many options not listed here and prices begin at ten dollars, so we will be able to buy alternative gifts both large and small.
The four tenets of the Advent Conspiracy include: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. When we think about turning our world upside down to include these tenets, who do we think of but the early church? We learn in Acts 2 that those early believers shared everything, provided for the needy, broke bread together and worshipped together. The early church was committed to the way of Jesus and as they focused on him, they became more like him. They performed miracles and boldly proclaimed the kingdom of God. They reached out to widows and orphans on the margins of society and ultimately risked their lives to spread the Gospel.
While our Christian lives do not carry the same risk as those early believers, we can choose, as they did, to be fully focused on Jesus and his teaching. One way to worship fully is to join our community of faith on Sunday mornings, but it is certainly not the only way. When we sing Christmas carols with children and grandchildren, we are worshipping fully. When we pray for the families receiving White Christmas donations, we are worshipping fully. When we gather with friends and family around tables for the Advent Lovefeast, we are worshipping fully. Worshipping fully will mean different things to each of us, but our outcome will be the same – becoming more like Jesus.