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Advent Conspiracy—the gift of presence

By Sharon Wood
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Presents or presence?
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I like presents—both the receiving and the giving of them.  I enjoy picking out a little something for my family and close friends, but to be honest, I can’t tell you much about the gifts I’ve received over my almost 60 Christmases. I do, however,  have vivid memories of presence at Christmas.
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Presence, being with family and loved ones and doing things for the season with them. Of putting on a play every Christmas with my brothers and sisters, decorating the stockings that our great-grandmother made for us, and sitting around the table sharing wonderful holiday meals.  I can still see my own kids sleeping under the tree. I see us reading the amazing story of Christmas together as we huddle around the fire.  Or slogging through the mud, sipping hot cocoa and looking for reindeer, as we look for the perfect Christmas tree to cut down.  I remember making cookies together and absolutely destroying the kitchen!  I remember the stunned look on all our faces as Miles finally got the foaming bathroom bubbles sprayer to work—and it sprayed all over the many open jars of fancy oil we’d spent hours making together to give away as gifts.  Presents are nice…but presence is so much better.
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 At New Life we try to live and love like Jesus as best we can and participating in Advent Conspiracy is one of the ways we celebrate presence instead of presents.  The idea is that we buy fewer gifts and instead give something that is truly valuable, like our time and our presence. Then we take the money we didn’t spend on unnecessary and unwanted gifts and give some of it or all of it to a worthy cause.
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We invite you to join us this Christmas in our conspiracy to put the true meaning and celebration of the season back into Christmas.  New Life has chosen to take the money saved on gift not bought and give it to New Day for Children.  New Day offers restorative care and education to American minor girls recovered from sex trafficking, and they do this at no cost to the family.
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Join us in our Advent Conspiracy and merry Christmas!!

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