During a panel discussion, the conversation turned to Christmas gift-giving. For most of these former volunteers, acquiring more material things was no longer high on their priority list, and talking to their families about that was inevitably awkward. The conversation went on, and on, and on - we talked more about gift giving than anything else all weekend.
I get the awkwardness, and I've had my share of uncomfortable family interactions, most of them infused with my own youthful condescension and militaristic progressivism. I like giving gifts - I like getting gifts. And I'm happy to be a part of what has become a really important tradition for parts of my family. But it's still a sticky time of year, when I inevitably begin to think about which weighs heavier - living a life of integrity or loving and respecting the people who formed me into this kind of person. Life, it turns out, is always a constant negotiation anyway.
So. Here are some ways to think about this particular season of negotiation, faithfulness, integrity, and relationship.
Check out the Advent Conspiracy website for more resources and suggestions. Happy Holy Days.