Advent Resources to Consider this Season
First of all, let me comment on how ironic it is that I, of all people, am writing this post about Advent. Growing up in the Church of Christ denomination (or non-denomination), Advent was not something that we practiced, nor was it a term that was thrown around at all that I remember. Sure, we celebrated Christmas as ‘the birth of Jesus,’ but terming it “Advent” was not part of my culture or heritage. It wasn’t until I was in college that I became more familiar with the term and the idea, and honestly came to love it. Through relationships with friends and classmates from different background and upbringings, as well as through work and participation with a church in that town, I was able to grow in understanding of and love for this season and idea behind it, (as well as the liturgical calendar as a whole). And, luckily, I am in a place where there is freedom to explore this and promote this season as well.
For this upcoming season, I am going to recommend two resources. Neither are mind-blowing or super secret, so this may not be the revelatory post you were looking for when you clicked on the link. Sorry. The first of these two resources I will cover is called The Advent Conspiracy. I will cover a little of the overview of this resource, but you can find much more information about it on adventconspiracy.org. This is the product of a combined effort of a couple of pastors to refocus the Christmas season to mean more than just buying and giving and receiving gifts. They wanted it to mean more than busyness, travel, and overwhelming stress to get everything wrapped and tied up and all the food made, etc. Thus, they developed this resource that has four focuses, spanning the weeks of Advent. These four focuses are “Worship Fully,” “Spend Less,” “Give More,” and “Love All.”
We used this resource in particular last year in our church, and I thought it was great for all ages. During the four weeks, we spent some time in service lighting candles and having couples or families speak to each of these four focuses, one each week. I decided to reinforce this in my classes with my students and taught on each of these for the four Sunday mornings leading up to Christmas. I thought this was very well received, and challenging enough, yet also tangible enough for my students and for the rest of our church to grasp. Again, for more, please go check out the website, or buy the book. However, I believe it to be a worthy resource for any who are looking for something perhaps slightly different or fresh than what you’ve done in the past.
This year, our church plans to focus on Advent again, but to use a different resource, one more suited for our kids, students, and families to engage together. We will still dedicate time in each service each week to have couples and families speak to the theme each week and to light the candle. This year, our plan is to utilize the free resource from Orange and the Parent Cue- the Advent Calendar. (This can be found at theparentcue.org/resources/advent-calendar-2019). This was sent to me earlier this month or last as a free resource via email, with a letter size version, a tabloid size version, and a multipage version- all as free downloadable pdf documents. Each of these has beautiful watercolor-esq red and green leaf graphics. Each also has a theme for each day as well as a discussion prompt for a group or couple or family to enjoy together.
We plan to use this version from Orange and the Parent Cue this year because it look simple to give families and for them to follow along throughout the Advent season together. We want to encourage our families to talk, and not just to talk but to talk about things that matter more. We hope this might provide opportunities for some of our families who ‘are crazy busy’ or who ‘have no time for anything’ to prioritize time together as a family and to sit down and talk. What better idea and hopeful outcome for this season of Advent and expectant joy and waiting than for families to actually be together more and to talk about things that matter? Thus, this is our hope and our prayer, for our church and for our families with students, and with younger kids as well.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.