The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year . . .

The songs, the decorations, the Christmas services at church, the cookies, the lights—they all have this strange ability to stir up emotions. There’s something childlike about how excited we get about this season.

Or maybe that’s not the case at all.

For a host of reasons, some dread these coming weeks and what gets dredged up is anything but sentimental. Perhaps it’s a memory from another vault. Christmas at your house was not much of a celebration—too much stress always led to too much conflict. Or maybe you’re just coming out of a grief that will leave its wake deep into December.

For some of us, the day after Christmas means we ended up with a little more debt, a few more gift cards and an aching awareness that we missed it. In our hearts we know it should be a wonderful time of the year…so what do we do?

When we acknowledge and remember what exactly this season is supposed to be about, it fills us with more than fuzzy feelings. The story of Christmas is a deeper, more resilient truth. It’s the story that changed everything and I mean everything. When I come back to that truth, it pushes back the dread of old memories, it gives me hope as I grieve, and it deepens any moment of celebration because Jesus is with me.

He is Immanuel, God with us. But he is also God with me. That’s why the story of His advent changes everything.

It’s also what ultimately motivated me and two friends—Chris and Rick—to do something radical. More than a decade ago (how did that happen!) we decided to invite our three churches to move even closer to the Christmas story. So close, in fact, that we entered the story ourselves by worshipping fully, spending less, giving more, and loving all.

And with that, the Advent Conspiracy was born.

The Advent Conspiracy movement started small—just a handful of churches who would try this experiment and make the story personal again. The news spread quickly, resources were created, and along the way a revolution was born.

There’s a reason our publisher, Zondervan asked us after all these years to update everyone on what’s happened with this global revolution. This year we’re excited to have a new book, new website, and new resources to better serve the churches and organizations around the world. AC has spread from family to family, church to church, and organization to organization. And we believe that’s how we can change the world—again—by inviting others into the story.

In the years since God birthed this grassroots movement we’ve been humbled by the churches around the globe who now talk about these four tenets. We’ve been encouraged as families step into this grand story themselves. And we’ve been inspired by the many who’ve been served, loved, and championed in the name of Jesus our King.

Entering the story was harder than we thought, more meaningful than we dared to dream, and one of the most beautiful encounters with Jesus that many of us have ever experienced.

How ‘bout that? Christmas can really can be the most wonderful time of the year.

Advent Conspiracy book
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