Congregations in 2021 have a particular challenge when dealing with Advent: some families are OK with coming back in-person to church while other families are still reluctant though they may join in via Zoom.
So many Advent 2021 resources have shifted from a church-focused celebration to a family-based home or hybrid (church/family) celebration. Here are some that I have come across – but you will need to do your own vetting to make sure what you use fits within the theological and educational approach in your ministry context. Some are free; some are not.
Presbyterian Church in Canada Resources (free)
Visit the PCC’s Worship page (https://presbyterian.ca/worship/) – Scroll down to “Seasonal Resources” and you will find PCC’s Advent resources. Some (but not all) are listed below:
- Bringing Light Into Darkness: Making Advent Candles at Home
- CNOB Resource: For Us, A Child is Born: An All-Ages Advent Devotional Booklet
- How to Make an Advent Wreath
- CNOB Resource: An Interactive Advent Calendar
- Journey to Christmas (not yet available)
- Travelling Mary and Joseph: An Advent Activity for the Whole Congregation
- Ways to Celebrate Advent at Home
- Walk to Bethlehem: An Advent Pilgrimage
- How to Make an Advent Wreath
Christian Reformed Church Resource (free)
- God’s Big Advent Story – family-friendly devotional with a free, downloadable set of colorful Story Symbols to use as Jesse Tree ornaments. https://network.crcna.org/faith-nurture/might-be-best-jesse-tree-set-ever
If you’re beginning to look for great intergenerational worship ideas for Advent, check out Intergen (from Australia). Intergen is a small group of church leaders who are passionate about developing and providing great resources to congregations for intergenerational programming and Messy Church.
Something Is Coming is a fresh way to engage households, small churches and the whole community through Advent. It is available as a downloadable resource for FREE here
Playlists are a great way for people of all ages to “walk through Advent” on their own – with stories, music, crafts, etc. If you’re interested in learning how to design your own playlists, contact Rev. Cheryl. Here are some Advent Playlists that have already been created:
- Grosse Pointe Memorial Church’s Advent Playlist – http://gpmchurch.org/advent-playlist/
- Michigan Conference United Methodist Church’s Advent Playlist – https://michiganumc.org/2020-advent-playlists-collection/
- St. Jude Catholic Church’s Advent Playlist – https://stjudeadventplaylist.weebly.com/advent-basics.html
- Illustrated Ministries – https://store.illustratedministry.com/collections/advent
- Sanctified Art –https://sanctifiedart.org/adventchristmas-resources
- Salt Project – https://www.saltproject.org/progressive-church-print-resources
- GenOn Ministries – https://www.genonministries.org/collections/resources-for-advent-christmas-epiphany/products/gods-world-in-community-advent-1
- 10 Ways to Celebrate Advent at Home
Odds & Ends
- I once turned the Advent story into a Mystery Story, (which I later turned into a somewhat boring Epiphany play, but with lots of potential):
- Advent 1 – Where
- Advent 2 – When
- Advent 3 – Who and
- Advent 4 – What and Why
- Another time, I invited youth to publish an Advent Newspaper that was printed up and handed out to the congregation on Advent 4 and Christmas Eve. Youth had to research some history, but the newspaper, called Vox Populi, included:
- ads (advertising Jewish and Roman products)
- letters to the editor (“who did the Romans think they were setting up a census?”) and
- Years ago, I started following an Advent resource put out by the Lutherans. While not focusing on Advent from a religious perspective per se, I continue to enjoy & use it. The idea is to spread Christmas activities over Advent so by the Christmas comes we’re not overwhelmed.
- Advent 1: Put out the background to any Nativity scene (e.g., stable, trees, grass). Bring out any Christmas decorations such as wreaths, candles and kitchen towels. Write and mail your Christmas letters and cards.
- Advent 2: Add animals to your Nativity scene. Bring out any Christmas decorations such as reindeer or penguins. Do your Christmas baking.
- Advent 3: Add people to your Nativity scene (e.g., shepherds, wise men, Mary & Joseph). Bring out any Christmas decorations such as Santas. Buy the last of your Christmas presents.
- Advent 4: Add angels to your Nativity scene. Put up and decorate your Christmas tree.