Advent - Tuesday, December 19th

By Rev. Dr. Tom Stephenson - Tuesday December 19, 2017

Conspire with Me

Please Read Luke 1:46-55

     In 2006, a small group of pastors gathered to conspire against Christmas.  Actually, they were resisting the Western idea of Christmas where we worship the day, adore the gift-giving, and glorify the season and its trappings. Thus began the mission of The Advent Conspiracy (adventconspiracy.org,) an adventure in conspiratorial worship and significant giving with an eye and heart prophetic economics, justice and a genuine encounter with the incarnate Christ.  There must be a better to reflect and observe God's self-investment in human flesh.

     The program is to embrace the simplicity of Christmas by worshipping fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all.  In her 2015 article, How We Forgot the Poverty of Christmas, Katelyn Beaty said this movement "rightly draws the holiday away from ourselves, onto God and others…to add big ideas—generosity and justice—to God's Big Idea.”[1]  God's Big Idea is the incarnation but Beaty suggests, "It's like we don't trust the Incarnation to sell itself.  And maybe that's our problem.  The trick about the Incarnation—God becoming [human]… is that it can't be sold, scheduled, or enjoyed in the way a glass of eggnog or a new gadget can.  It refuses to bend to the rules of the market. It can only be beheld.”[2]

     In today's passage from the Gospel, Mary is overwhelmed and overjoyed by the gift growing within her, God's very presence dwelling within her body.  Whatever your personal theology of the incarnation, one cannot avoid its implications for human culture, economic justice, and individual lives.  The mystery of this enfleshing moment has deep implications for how we relate to God and one another.  When the Lord comes near teenage girls sing of justice and the grey values we live by are revealed by the light of heaven.

     Are you hungry for good things (vs. 53) this Christmas?  Then conspire with me against Christmas that we might deepen our encounter of the Incarnate God made known through the child in whom kings fear, sages worship, and the poor rejoice.  How can you and yours conspire for a true celebration of Christmas this year?  Amen.


Pastor Tom Stephenson
First Christian Church, Wilmington
Moderator of the Christian Church in Ohio

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