Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Advent is Here!

candles in the dark against a backdrop of unfocused twinkly lights

Hey folks. Advent is around the corner! And thanks goodness. Orie has been asking me LITERALLY EVERY MORNING for the past week if today is Christmas. It didn't help that my mom sent a package for the kids to open to get ready for Advent - I mean come on! At least when Advent starts the calendars will be a vehicle for counting the days. Yikes!

So here we go. Below are some new and some tried-and-true Advent ideas for you to take a look at. And maybe try! I would love to know what your traditions and family practices are related to this season of waiting for Jesus.

Chocolate Calendar - Divine Chocolate is my go-to treat-based advent calendar both because it's fair trade chocolate and because there's a little bit of the Christmas story in each window. I just went ahead and got one for everyone in my family because then no one gets left out. I chose the dark chocolate version for myself.

Do-It-Yourself Nativity - This Paper Nativity by could be printed and put together each day of advent little by little. Or just all at once as an activity. And if you're feeling creative, you could make your own or have kids make different pieces of it.

Tiny Image and Devotions: Thomas Mousin's tiny devotions calendar is a down-loadable one-page calendar with a brief verse and mini-picture for each day. In this years (he does one each year) you need to do a little searching to find each day. Could be colored in as the days go by, or just used as a prompt for reflection and conversation.

Praying in Color: In a similar vein, Sybil McBeth at Praying in Color does a new Advent fill-in-with-color calendar each year, which is more free form and person/child directed. I've sometimes done this myself as a little personal devotion for Lent or Advent and value the few minutes of mental space it creates. Explore the website to learn more about how to pray in color if you get stuck.

Advent Word: For the more online-inclined, join others around the globe through #AdventWord, an online advent calendar which chooses a focal word each day and encourages followers to post their own reflections, images and prayers inspired by that word and share with other followers through social media platforms. More at or by searching #adventword on social media. I did something similar to this once on instagram and often see others doing so. It's fun to see what the different words inspire.

The 99c Advent Wreath - I am skeptical this this will really be 99 cents, but the supplies include glitter, modeling clay and birthday candles, so it's definitely affordable. Children can create it themselves and if each child in a family has their own, perhaps the competition over who gets to light/blow out the candle will be eliminated (my hope, anyway).

Living Advent Wreath - this wreath made of actual children pretending to be candles is probably not something any of us are going to do at home - I just thought it was a really cute idea. Maybe we can figure out a way to do this in worship some year.

Advent Devotions - Common Word, a resource from Mennonite Church Canada creates a family-friendly downloadable advent resource. This seems like it could be used daily or occasionally or weekly, whatever works for your family. This year it's called, "Waiting and Wondering"

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