Preparation might look like avoiding the temptation to celebrate Christmas too early; it might be a time of waiting with anticipation; or perhaps it’s learning more about Christ and the Christian story. Some people use Advent to relearn the Christian story with daily Bible readings, starting from Genesis, or make a special effort to set aside time for personal or family prayer.
On Advent Unwrapped, we’ll be publishing introductions to the characters in the Christmas story, personal devotions, “body prayers” (that use movement), and other inspirational material—including the popular videos—throughout the season. Scroll to the bottom of the page to Connect with Us and never miss a post! And scan the At Home page for resources you can download just for you.
Consider using a daily Advent calendar (pdf) to help you count down the days. You could use it in conjunction with an Advent wreath, where a different candle is lit each week leading up to Christmas. The candles are sometimes lit as symbols of the gifts or virtues that Jesus brings (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love).
Here are some suggested themes for your Advent preparations.
- Be Hopeful: Know what/who you are waiting for. Learn more about Jesus and the people who waited with hope for his arrival. Consider: How do you prepare for a big adventure? How do you remain patient while waiting? Experience the hope of anticipation.
- Be Brave: You can’t be brave if you are never afraid. Learn more about why Jesus and his message might be scary. How might Jesus’ message change your world? Who else has shared messages that could change the world? Where did they find courage? Where do you find courage? Experience the peace of taking action.
- Be Welcoming: Make room in your life. How do you show someone that you have been thinking of them? How do you prepare to welcome guests? What do you need to clear away to make room for something new? Experience the joy of hospitality.
- Be Yourself: Only you can do you! Learn more about the golden commandment to love each other as you love yourself. How do you show and share love with others? What do you love to do and how do you share it? What makes you feel special and loved? Experience the love of self and others.
Put up this poster (pdf) to remind yourself of the journey.
The four weeks of Advent are a special time to prepare for the birth of Jesus. Together, let’s get ready for Christ(mas)!
Alydia Smith is Program Coordinator, Worship, Music, and Spirituality for The United Church of Canada.