I Am the Problem

Let me go on record as saying that I believe Advent Conspiracy is a great idea, a noble and worthy effort, and something our family is going to take part in this year. As we are discussing the specifics of how our family can Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All, I have gotten some resistance to the process. The resistance does not come from our kids or other family members, it comes from my own heart. There are probably many ways to describe what I mean, but the easiest way to describe it is to say: I want stuff.

I want new clothes. I want a new home computer. I want a welder. I want to go out to eat more. I want a Blu-Ray player. I want a new camera.

I want and want and want some more. And this whole “Advent Conspiracy” idea is going to limit me getting what I want. Now the truth is that I wouldn’t get many of those things for Christmas anyway, except for the clothes (my mom can always be counted on to buy me a nice sweater). But does anyone else see the problem here? While none of the things I want are wrong or theologically incorrect, they pale in comparison to the larger good. When I hold up the idea of a family getting fresh water to my Blu-Ray player, I am willing to watch movies in the regular format. I can borrow a friend’s welder for a long time before I buy one if it means that the poor and hurting get something extra this year. The fact that I even view the giving up of these things as “sacrifice” is indicative of how far my heart can stray from one of generosity and compassion.

With kids especially, it’s tough to know how to take part in this in a meaningful way that builds value and doesn’t steal joy. It will be easy to give lip service to the ideas behind the Advent Conspiracy, while still spending as much as we always do, giving the same as we always give and getting lost in the commercial aspects of Christmas more than the true meaning. And it will be easy because that is what everyone is expecting us to do, wanting us to do and what the Christmas season in the western hemisphere is designed to do. But what if, just for this one year, we decided that the problem wasn’t how the kids will respond, or what mom will say, or what our sibling will think about getting a homemade gift? What if we admitted that we have a picture of what we want Christmas to look like and we are unwilling to relinquish that vision? Maybe, like me, you will find the enemy of doing good this year very close to home. I am the problem, but I don’t want to be. How about you?

Written by Steve Musto

2 Responses to “I Am the Problem”

  1. 1 Nancy October 31, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Yep, I am the problem. That’s for sure. Great post Steve.

  2. 2 Shere-Ling November 4, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    My husband Jeff didn’t want new clothes; I had to force him to get some. He wants computers and has gotten them thru ebay. From time to time, I have to learn from him of his contentment. We open our home for international students during holidays and host student for short stay during the summer. One year he even helped me clean our extra room for a student from China. He is a seeker and I am a Christ follower and yet I have so much to learn from him.

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Love All

Act Local: Share gifts of time and resources with those in our community. At the Impact Tree in the Atrium, find opportunities available for individuals, families and life groups. All the information you need will be on the cards by the Tree. Take a card – put an ornament on the tree.

Give Global: On Sunday, December 13 during services, we'll take up an Advent Conspiracy offering (a direct result of spending less) to give towards clean water projects and wheelchair needs in Honduras, Kenya and Romania. If you won’t be able to join us at services on that day but still want to participate, just write "Advent" in the memo of your check and drop it in any of the offering boxes.


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