Advent Conspiracy: A commercial rebellion
Danielle St. Marie, Writer
For many families, Christmas consists of long shopping lists, traffic jams and extensive stress. Christmas has morphed into a commercialized holiday focused on retail, gifts and Santa Claus.
As a young child, I remember Christmas morning as the happiest day of the entire year. I would leave out cookies and milk the night before, anticipating Santa Claus to climb down the chimney and leave me desired toys and candy. It was the highlight of the year.
In the third century St. Nicholas, the real man behind Santa Claus, was one who generously helped the poor by leaving money in their shoes. But now Santa is used as a marketing tool for retail stores nationwide. It is rare to watch TV and not see Santa Claus during the holidays. Children have been brainwashed to believe that Christmas' sole purpose is receiving the toys they want, but why is this wrong?
On average, Americans spend about $450 billion every year for the holidays. In retail, the entire year is based on the money made from Christmas sales. Santa Claus has provoked the selfish desires inside us to want things before we give to others. We are only human and want the latest and greatest, but what about those who cannot afford even food during the holidays?
We need to think of others this Christmas before ourselves. It is difficult, but it can be done. This Christmas my challenge to help will include the Advent Conspiracy, an organization committed to helping others. Advent Conspiracy is hoping that people around the world will buy one less gift and donate their time and money to help someone in need.
More than one billion people do not have access to safe and affordable drinking water, and 2.4 billion people live in conditions lacking adequate sanitation. More than 2.2 million people die every year from diseases associated with the lack of safe water and inadequate hygiene. In Africa, an infant is 520 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases than in Europe or in the United States. Improvement in drinking-water quality can reduce diarrheal episodes between 35 and 39 percent.
"On average, America spends about $450 billion every year for Christmas. We are only human and want the latest and greatest, but what about those who can not afford food during the holidays?" -Danielle St. Marie, '12
Advent Conspiracy has teamed up with Living Water International to build new wells in Africa. Every year, Africa suffers from severe droughts causing wells and riverbeds to dry up. With the lack of sufficient water wells, women and girls walk many miles every day in search for safe drinking water.
Last year, Fresno First Baptist Church expanded their ministry by joining the movement of Advent Conspiracy. The church successfully completed the purpose by raising money to build a well for a Nigerian medical clinic, gifts for Angel Tree, a food drive for local families, as well as handing out cookies and singing Christmas carols to local neighbors.
This Christmas I will rebuff a traditional commercialized Christmas and seek to help others. I have to admit that I would not give up my iPod to the needy, but I would gladly give my time. The smallest gesture can brighten a homeless person's holiday and bring joy to your own.
I am asking you to rebel with me by somehow contributing to those who need our help.