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‘Christmas Conspiracy’ hopes to return to reason for the season

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‘We’ve made it too big, we’ve made it too fancy ...’

By Leslie Moore

 

A small crowd gathered in the cold at Campbellsville University's Alumni and Friends Park on Tuesday night to learn how they could take back Christmas.

Most of those in attendance were attracted to the event by signs posted around town featuring an upside down Christmas tree and the event's Facebook page that received more than 200 "likes."

Bro. Jamie Bennett, pastor at Green River Memorial Baptist Church, said Christmas has been consumed by materialism and he challenged those who attended to remember the real reason for the season.

"We've made it too big, we've made it too fancy, we've spent too much and we have completely lost in the wrapping paper and empty boxes the idea that Christ was born and came to Earth, and that this is supposed to be about something deeper and more important," Bennett said.

While Santa Claus, twinkling lights and presents can be a part of Christmas, he said Jesus has been pushed into the background.

He told the crowd that the "Christmas Conspiracy" focuses on four core concepts. The first is to worship fully. The angels on the first Christmas sang not about Santa Claus or having a "Blue Christmas," Bennett said, but about Christ coming to Earth.

The second concept is to spend less.

"Why do we buy so much? Why do want our pile to be bigger?" Bennett asked.

He spoke about King Herod ordering the construction of huge buildings for his own glory and to build his own empire. But Jesus came and his entire life was centered not on building an empire, but building a kingdom - God's kingdom.

"When God chose the family ... when God chose where he would begin, when he started to change the world, he chose a family that had nothing," Bennett said.

He said the Bible tells of how God's heart beats for those who are the poorest, who are the most forgotten and who are the most needy.

Bennett said Jesus was born in poverty, lived in poverty his whole life and died with everything he owned in a pile underneath him at the cross.

"Now I find it a little ironic, and maybe you do too, that we celebrate the coming of the kingdom of God by making our piles a little bit higher, by spending more and more money every year trying to keep up with what everybody else is giving," Bennett said. "Let's stop, let's worship fully."

The third concept is to give more, he said.

Bennett told the crowd that the first Christmas gift was Jesus, and that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to follow in Jesus' footsteps and give themselves to their families, friends, neighbors and those who have no one.

"With those who have been forgotten, with those who have nobody to come and sit at the table with them this Christmas, the best gift that we can give is the gift of us," Bennett said.

The fourth concept is to love all, he said.

Attendees were given play money and asked to write on it how they could use some of their Christmas money to help change someone's world. The crowd then tore the bills in half and hung one half on the "Tree of Sacrifice" and kept the other to serve as a reminder.

Bennett said his congregation is going to use their money to dig wells in Africa so a village can have access to clean water. He also said there are several local organizations such as the Salvation Army and Green River Ministries that need support.

"So this Christmas when we say that we're going to spend less, we don't just do that so the bills will be lower come February," Bennett said. "We do that so that instead of wasting that money, we can change a life. We can bless a soul."