Six years ago Los Altos United Methodist Church started changing the way we celebrate Christmas. During the holiday season we practice extravagant generosity by making gifts to specific missions in addition to giving to our church. We can continue the Advent Generosity tradition this year and Worship Fully, Give More, Spend Less, and Love All this Christmas.
By doing so, we can “unclutter Christmas,” as Beth Richardson encourages in our Advent book, The Uncluttered Heart. Advent is often the busiest time of the year, and it is a challenge as Christians to make time and space to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As the Christmas season approaches, we have the opportunity to reconsider and unclutter the way we approach this most holy of seasons, making space for the arrival of the Christ child.
Participating in Advent Generosity is one way to shower love on others in honor of Christ’s birth. Instead of being consumed by the exhausting decorating and preparations, the chaotic clutter of shopping, spending, buying, and wrapping gifts that many of us don’t need, we can instead choose to devote our time to worshipping fully and use our money toward loving all. In addition to our regular giving to Los Altos UMC for our vital ministries, participating in Advent Generosity supports programs that exhibit God’s love to those who need it most.
Please consider donating to the Advent Generosity 2015 programs as a gift to friends and family. Making one donation supports three worthy programs in our community and the world:
Hope’s Corner, Inc., Capital Campaign: Hope’s Corner provides weekly healthy meals and showers to people in need in the Mountain View area. Advent Generosity gifts will go toward building a commercial kitchen on site to expand Hope’s Corner’s food service. Visit the Hope’s Corner page for more information.
Compassion Week 2016: Compassion Week provides church and community members with an opportunity to put their faith in action by addressing poverty, education, homelessness, hunger, the environment, and more. Advent Generosity funds will purchase supplies for these activities. Visit the Compassion Week page for more information.
UMCOR Gifts of Hope: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Around 884 million people lack adequate access to water. More than 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation. Through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (Advance #3020600), Advent Generosity gifts will supply the life-giving gift of water, sanitation, and hygiene education to people around the world. Visit UMCOR’s project page for more information.
How to Participate
Pick up an Advent Generosity 2015 envelope in the Sanctuary, Creekside, or the church office to collect the money you save by not buying unneeded/unwanted gifts. Then return the filled envelope to the church office or place it in the offering plate on or before Christmas Eve. You can also donate online.
If you want to want to make a gift donation on someone’s behalf, cards are enclosed in the collection envelope that you can fill out and give to them to let them know what you have done. Doing so can help unclutter the Christmas season for both of you! More gift cards are available if you have a long list of recipients.
Invite a Friend to Give in Your Name
As you unclutter your Christmas and focus on preparing for the birth of Christ, consider contacting someone who usually gives you a gift and let them know that you would like to work together with them to redirect the money that they would have spent on a gift for you to Advent Generosity instead, to help feed the hungry, put faith into action, and provide clean water. You will be uncluttering your own life and Christmas celebration and, in the process, inviting someone who cares about you to join you in making a difference for others in need.
This Christmas, let’s choose to unclutter our expectations, our preparations, and our celebration of Christ’s birth through Advent Generosity giving. Together, let’s unclutter our Christmas season and Worship Fully. Give More. Spend Less. And Love All.