28 Nov 2009

The Christmas Manifesto

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I don’t want to be passive about Advent and Christmas.  These holy days are not just going to  happen to me. I want to live them intentionally.

I read a Facebook status post this morning that said, “I guess I am showing my age. I love the holidays but everything has to be a hassle, decorating, cooking, work, go here go there. I don’t want to grow up. I want to be a kid again.”  I bet many people can relate to that feeling.  Well, I don’t want this season to be a season of getting run over by commitments and obligations.

If it truly is about Jesus, then it’s hard for me to believe he would want us celebrating his birthday by being manic.  So this Advent I am on a quest.  A quest to push past all of the commercialism and hype.  I will slay the beasts of busyness and bah Humbug.  I will instead embrace peace, hope, love and joy.

So here is my self-imposed 8 intentions for an amazing Advent and Christmas.

1. I will give gifts that honor God. I am not quite sure what that means yet. Maybe I will buy some daily devotional books for people for the new year. I would love your suggestions on this. Some gifts that come to mind are: study Bibles, devotional books, Christian artwork or jewelry to remind people of God’s presence, a donation in honor of someone to my church or a mission.  I won’t do this with all of my gifts, but at least a portion.

2. I will hand make gifts. I won’t make all my gifts, but I will be very intentional about making some.  Last year, I bound 101 blog posts from The Practical Disciple for my family and a few friends. One year I made pajamas for my son and a duvet cover with matching valance for my daughter. These gifts were far more meaningful for both me and the recipients.

3.  I will carol with boisterous gusto. I have at least two opportunities to carol this season.  I am going to sharpen up my Christmas caroling guitar skills and come as full of Christmas spirit to those activities as I possible can.

4.  I will read and write every day about Jesus in my prayer journal. Since He is the reason for the season, I want some daily focus time on Jesus so I don’t loose sight of Him.

5.  I will create blog posts that help you have a more meaningful Advent and Christmas.

6.  I will approach Christmas with a child-like Spirit. Specifically, I want to reread the Jesus’ birth story with a sense of awe and wonder.  I want to be joyfully creative as I wrap gifts.  I want to playfully bake with my children and play some games that cause us to laugh uncontrollably.

7.  I will sow seeds of peace, hope, love and joy every day. Each day I will strive to take intentional actions that produce these four results.  I will start by making a list today so that I am armed with ideas to begin the season.

8. I will read my manifesto daily. I cannot count the number of good intentions I have held that have gone unrealized.  In order to prevent this from happening with The Christmas Manifesto, I am declaring it here publicly and will read it each day aloud.

So this is “The Christmas Manifesto.”  I will be sure and share the insights and learnings that come my way as I live out the Manifesto.  Blessings to you this holy season.

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7 Responses

  1. katherine nelson

    that’s awesome! i love the idea of giving gifts that honor God and about making your gifts because i do that all the time!(yay artists!)anyway thanks for sharing that with me i look forward to reading more! 🙂

  2. Anne Russ


    I have printed this post and will post it this morning in the area where folks gather before worship. Great way to start Advent. Thank you.

  3. admin

    How exciting, thanks Anne. I wish I had thought to do the same. I hope it inspires others to be very intentional about Advent and Christmas. I am off to a good start here and hope to maintain the momentum. Peace, hope, love and joy to you

  4. Anne Russ

    Am up way too late because of your manifesto. After I put my daughter to bed, I’ve been going through all the fabric I have and have come up with some really cool coasters that I’m making to give as gifts this year. There are some placemats in the works, too. I have recently learned about something called “printable fabric”, so next year, I’m planning homemade gifts that also honor God (a two-fer). My coasters and tote bags and place mats can sport scripture.

  5. admin

    Awesome. You have me curious how you are making coasters. I have an enormous collection of fabric. I love the idea of adding scriptures. What a simple way to take an ordinary functional gift and turn it into one that honors God. Mentioning totes sparks and idea for me. I keep a bunch of old totes in my car so that I don’t have to use grocery bags when I shop. I have some old green rip stop nylon I bought on sale years ago for a dollar a yard. It would make awesome grocery totes. I could find some appropriate verse to iron on them. Can’t wait to hear what else you come up with. Blessings.

  6. Pingback : Christmas Manifesto Revisited | The Practical Disciple

  7. Priscilla Davis

    I just printed the Christmas Manifesto and will enjoy using some of it. In our family, we don’t exchange Christmas gifts. We give birthday gifts on each one’s special day. On Christmas Eve, we attend the church celebration. Afterwards, we gather at our home and have a light meal, followed by a rousing game of “Dirty Santa”. Gift limit is $5 so even our college grandson can afford to play. Garage sale items are okay.

    John, you are the best church school teacher that I ever had. Priscilla

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