This month during our Advent Conspiracy series, we're reorienting our hearts back to Christ to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas. This week, we're tackling the second core practice of advent: Spend Less.
Let's be honest: Christmas is a season of excessive spending and consumption. In fact, consumerism at Christmas dates all the way back to Matthew 1-2, when King Herod had authority over all Israel. Herod was known for his Empire of MORE - He was a very insecure leader who focused on spending more.. gaining more power... and hoarding more wealth. To Herod, more and bigger were best! Into this ruthless, greedy Empire of More, Jesus was born in Bethlehem to peasant parents. He was born into poverty! In Matthew 2:16, we learn that when King Herod's Empire of More was threatened by the birth of newborn baby Jesus, Herod actually called for all the baby boys 2 years old and under to be killed!
See, King Herod completely misunderstood the reason for Christ's coming. Jesus didn't want Herod's throne - He wanted to be king of Herod's life! Likewise, we have a choice today - at Christmas, who will you serve? As Americans, we have a counterfeit king of consumerism who demands our allegiance at Christmas - the Empire of More is still ever-present today. In order to reject the peppermint lie of Consumerism this Christmas - to focus more on the Christ of the manger - here are 3 practical guidelines to help you spend LESS this December:
#1) Set A Limit
Truthfully, many parents are guilty of giving their children too much... Completely overwhelming them with gifts that distract from the simple celebration of Jesus. This year, try setting limits by simply giving your kids something they WANT, something they NEED, and something to experience TOGETHER.
#2) Make A Budget
Next, you'll want to set a budget for your Christmas spending. Setting a budget doesn't mean you can't eat out, throw a party, or buy gifts this December. But, it will help you make wise decisions about how much money you'll invest towards those things in this holiday season. Remember: Every step you max out at the mall is one step further away from the Manger!
#3) Spend Wisely
Last, you'll want to spend wisely for the people you are giving gifts to in this season. Spending less and spending wisely is actually an opportunity to be more thoughtful in the gifts you give. Consider taking time to pray for the people on your Christmas list before you even purchase anything!
With God's help, you can resist the Empire of More and celebrate Jesus birth humbly, beautifully, and relationally this December. Will you pray with your family about how you'll put these action steps into practice this holiday season?