I've been thinking a lot lately about the role of celebration, holy days and Sabbath in Christian life. How and why we stop, reflect and celebrate can reflect our identity as Christians and thus be a witness to life in Jesus Christ. This reflection from Marlene Bogard, below, just arrived in my inbox this afternoon. She and I are thinking similar thoughts! I share it with you to stimulate your thinking about how we celebrate holidays in a distinctly Christian way. --Shana Peachey Boshart, conference minister for Christian formation.
Revisiting the Alternative Holiday Approach
by Marlene Bogard, Minister of Christian Formation in Western District Conference
Got Christmas on your mind? Most of us don't...yet....but we are about to be overwhelmed with commercials, singing elves and decorations. Now that the Halloween candy has been discounted, the shelves are being re-stocked with more candy canes and ornaments than ever. And yet, Advent has not yet begun. And neither has Thanksgiving for that matter. Whew!
Take some time to discern how you, your family and your congregation will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Will it be about wrapped presents and twinkling lights? About straw in the manger and holy carols? About roasted turkey and pumpkin pie? Maybe, maybe not. I encourage you to pay attention to the margins in your days, or seek to find them. Is there space to sip hot chocolate and listen deeply to a friend? Will we pause sufficiently to plan for the authentic meaning of Christmas? What does it mean to be counter-cultural and faithful in the midst of holiday frenzy?
Here are some great resource links with a nod towards alternative, generous approaches to the next round of holidays.
1. Whose Birthday is it Anyway? http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/indexoth.php?place=archives/XB/XB2014index.php
2. 10 Tips for Simpler, more Meaningful Celebrations: http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/indexoth.php?place=archives/MR/10tipCeleb.php
3. Started by Canadian Mennonites - this idea of Buy Nothing Christmas has mushroomed into a huge movement: http://www.buynothingchristmas.org/
4. In 2006 five pastors imagined a better Christmas practice for their own communities. Today, Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshiping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All: http://www.adventconspiracy.org/
5. Engineer a gratitude campaign in your church: http://www.unstuck.com/gratitude.html OR http://www.gratefulness.org/p/
6. Remember - we have amazing stuff right here at the Resource Library: search these subjects on our on-line catalog:mennowdc.org/library/gratitude; thankful; generous; generosity; Thanksgiving; Advent; Christmas;
Central Plains Mennonite Conference
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