International (MNN) — Do high prices, debt and long lines have you groaning as the Advent season begins? Do you grow angry when stores refuse to say "Merry Christmas?"
Stan Patyrak with Living Water International wants to challenge you to refocus.
"I think we would all look at the advent season … and see that it is just plagued with consumerism and debt … and people actually dreading the season, even though it is really the most pivotal, theological moment in history–especially for us as Christ-followers," he said.
That's why LWI is partnering once again with the Advent Conspiracy. This movement encourages Christ-followers to participate in a different worship experience by spending less, giving relationally and loving all–especially the least of these. It has enabled LWI to install 340 wells worldwide to communities without clean water.
In its fourth year, the Advent Conspiracy is seeing its best response yet: "It really kind of went viral." Patyrak says every year, participation has doubled. $350,000 was raised the first year, $700,000 the second, and $1.5 million last year.
And this year is no different.
"We're in the first week of Advent, and already the response is quite overwhelming from people who are really just seeking to give more relational gifts and seeking not to let culture define how this season should be celebrated," Patyrak said.
However, he said while the money they have raised so far has been incredible, it should not be the main focus. "We're really quick to say 'this is not a fundraiser.' This is more about changing the way we choose to worship."
As Christ-followers begin to change their mindset, Patyrak said some stories emerging have been incredible. One made Patyrak chuckle.
"We hear stories of young kids who write their letters to Santa asking for 10 billion dollars so they can just go ahead and solve the water crisis this year," he said, which captures the mindset Christians should have approaching the season.
If this is your first time hearing about Advent Conspiracy, or you would like to know how to get involved, you can start today. Visit adventconspiracy.org to learn more. You can also check out their video, explaining more about the movement.
You can also visit LWI's Web site to see how you can supply more of the world's population with fresh and clean drinking water.