Advent Resources

You know, a mystery is hard to enter sometimes. That is why this time of Advent is so important. Sometimes people can walk right through a mystery and not even know it is there. This time of year you will see people hurrying in the malls buying things and doing this and that, but they will miss the Mystery. They don’t know how to get ready or maybe they just forgot.

The church learned a long time ago that people need a way to get ready or even come close to a mystery like Christmas. During this time, we are all on the way to Bethlehem. We are all making the journey that was not just back then: It is also now…

- From the Godly Play Advent story

As the church, how can we better get ready for the mystery of Christmas this year, at home, in worship, in special community gatherings, in our learning about faith? Is there an age group in your congregation that hasn’t had a chance to connect this fall? Are there areas of Christian life that need a chance to come to the forefront? What needs and opportunities do you see?

We are here to help you brainstorm, implement, connect with each other: please let us know how we can help you get ready for the mystery of Christmas.

Recently Published

Living Well Through Advent 2017
Practicing Wonder With All Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind

The seasons of Advent and Christmas are filled with the presence of wonder, if only we remember to pause and open ourselves to receiving this gift. Practicing Wonder with all Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind is a timely resource to help remind each of us to take time to discover how the gifts of wonder might be born in us yet again this year.
Designed for use as an individual reflection or for group study, this guide provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of the Advent season, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Christmas.
This guide includes reflections from: Wendy Claire Barrie, The Rev. Viktoria Gotting, The Rev. Canon Scott Gunn, The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel, The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

A Thrill of Hope: DVD study and Discussion Guide

A Thrill of Hope is a DVD study designed for use in Sunday school classes, small group studies, and other church group gatherings. This 50-minute DVD-based study presents the familiar story of Christmas as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Each scripture passage is illustrated and interpreted in the stunning artwork of John August Swanson along with commentary by some of America’s premier Biblical scholars, names such as Dr. Thomas G. Long, Dr. Michael Joseph Brown, Dr. Carol A. Newsom, and more. Buy here.

Embodied Advent

Advent Word 2017, From the Society of St. John the Evangelist:
Create a global advent calendar with the rest of the Anglican Communion by praying and noticing with one word a day, and sharing pictures online.

Reverse Advent
Give out bags or boxes for families to fill with food, clothing, or other donations during the season of Advent. Gather them together as a church at the end of the season.

Make a Living Advent Wreath
Grab some fabric and imagination, and make yourselves into an advent wreath! 

Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All
Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All. This website is full of ideas; sign up at the bottom to get free access to a 4 week curriculum for kids, videos for each tenet, and other church-related resources.

Advent In Intergenerational Worship

What We Do In Advent: Activity Book by Anne Kitch
Fun-filled activity book for kids ages 4 to 7 shows how to make an Advent wreath, help Mary and Joseph find their way to Bethlehem, and count the gifts the Magi bring to the Christ Child. Filled with mazes, crossword puzzles, connect-the-dots, and word searches.

Blue Christmas Resources from Episcopal Health Ministries
Scroll down to see a couple of examples of “blue Christmas” services, which allow people who are experiencing grief and sadness to bring these emotions to church during a season with a lot of festivity.

St. Martin’s in Davis, All Saints in Sacramento, St. Paul’s in Benicia, and St. Mary’s in Napa, along with several other congregations in our diocese, have hosted similar services.

Advent and Christmas Liturgies with Children from Worshipping with Children
Here are some tips for helping children (particularly those who aren’t there often) enter into the liturgies and stories of Advent and Christmas this year. 

Tips for Christmas Pageants from BuildFaith 
Large, small, planned, chaotic- there are lots of resources and stories here! And remember that Christmas Pageants don’t have to be limited to children! (The Godly Play Christmas Pageant is flexible, it has beautiful, simple language, and it is incredibly un-complicated!)

Advent Parish Checklist from Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices 
Are you ready to welcome visitors? Here’s a helpful checklist to help you look at your congregation’s hospitality practices with fresh eyes.

Christmas Literature for Advent from Storypath
There are excellent children’s books (which adults often enjoy just as much!) for every Sunday of the Advent lectionary. 

Episcopal Relief and Development Advent Toolkit
Includes an Advent calendar, prayers, activities, success stories, and a guide to planning a congregation-wide Advent campaign.

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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