Jesus is the reason for the season.
Keep Christ in Christmas.
However it's said, the meaning stays true. Christmas, as a holiday, is Christmas because of the birth of Christ.
At Northfield Church of Christ 2933 N. 15th St., the season's sermons are collected in a series called the Advent Conspiracy - worship fully, spend less, give more and love all. And while some people wonder about the word conspiracy in conjunction with worship before Christmas, the Rev. Dale Harlow said, "It really hits right at what I always try to hit at Christmas. It's just packaged a little differently and a little better."
The Advent Conspiracy, he said, is the "taking of an idea. For us, with Christmas, our society has made Christmas into an idol - consumerism. Just the idea of we have to have more and more will make us happy. It's kind of a redirection of spending less."
Harlow said his church doesn't use the term Advent. "As far as the Bible goes, it doesn't talk about much leading up to the birth of Christ; although I've always preached a Christmas series leading up to Christmas."
This year, the congregation will be part of the Advent Conspiracy concept which began in 2005 and has grown to about 1,000 churches nationwide.
Nicole McChesney, of Somers, brought the idea to Northfield after hearing about it when she was out of town for Thanksgiving last year, and she was asked to lead the program and do the planning of where collection donations will be sent.
"The word Advent has special meaning because it's about anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus," McChesney said. "That's the big first idea - we would change our thinking about Christmas and recapture the spirit of anticipation and preparation. That counter-cultural to the busy rush and the to-do list, consumerism - kind of pushing back against that."
She said the conspiracy part of the title pinpoints how culture has turned the season into a mass of wanting more and buying more, sometimes for gifts for people who neither need nor want the gift.
"As Christians, we would take back Christmas as our holiday and our story to tell," she said.
Along with the story of the birth of Christ would come an increase in compassion and caring.
As an example, she said, "If we could conspire together, we could fix the world's water problem just by changing how we do Christmas."
Officials say it would cost $10 billion to provide clean drinking water worldwide, McChesney said. "And Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas last year. That puts us to shame, doesn't it? That's the meaning behind the title" of Advent Conspiracy.
The culmination of Northfield's offerings during the Christmas season will be donated to two missions - the Central India Christian Mission to support a children's home and food project and an active water program, part of the global water solution.
And that, she said, we would help make Christmas more about compassion.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org