by Lisa Schmidt
For the past several years, Oak Hills has been partnering with local and international organizations to bring to our church goods that provide a fair wage and sustainable working conditions to artisans around the world as one of our Advent practices. While the market is certainly fun and, we hope, and enjoyable experience, this is not the main reason why we do it. At the fair trade market you can be sure that your spending seeks to build up people and communities.
The fair trade market is a wonderful opportunity during Advent to engage in the practices of formation and mission. It invites us to look at our holiday spending and to invite God into the process. We can ask him to examine our hearts and to bring anything to our attention that is not in alignment with his will as we seek to have him be the focus of our Advent season. Why am I buying gifts? What is a reasonable amount for me to spend? How can I push back against the pull of consumerism during this holiday season? How does what I buy affect others?
The fair trade market also has a missional focus. God is at work around the world redeeming and restoring all things to himself. There are organizations already at work in our community and around the world to bring dignity and worth to trafficking survivors, and to provide a living wage to people in developing nations. We know that some of the goods that we see in the stores where we live are made by people who are working in terrible conditions or are being exploited in other ways. How can I use my spending this holiday season not only to bring joy to the recipient of my gift, but also to those who are involved in the process that I may never see?
Our encouragement this Advent season is that you would seek to more fully invite God into your holiday spending, and that you would consider how your spending affects those around the world. May God be glorified this Advent season, not only with our lips, but also with our spending.
If you can not make it to the Fair Trade Market at Oak Hills you may shop on line throughout the year.