What shall we do while we wait?
Advent is all about preparing for the coming of Jesus; preparing by doing things that help us get ready, and preparing in ways that are great fun! There are so many amazing stories to hear and fun things to do over these four special weeks.
I want to share with you a exciting collection of Advent activities you and your church can easily connect with over this Advent season; a collection of five cozily decorated living rooms that open up to wonderful world of videoed stories and music, family friendly devotions and outdoor adventures, tasty recipes and fun Christmas crafts.
These living rooms have been created for churches to request and then upload to their church website each week of Advent and on Christmas Eve.
A bit more about the how later, let’s talk about the what.
These Advent Living Rooms have been created using Google Classroom. Google Classroom has been widely embraced during the pandemic as a means of providing engaging learning when people cannot learn together in the same place. Some of our churches have been using Google Classroom for Sunday school lessons this fall and, knowing this, I have used this platform to create five cozy living rooms with the same purpose in mind – drawing learners into a world of resources and ideas to keep them active and involved as they grow in faith using all of their senses.
When you visit the sample Advent 1 Living Room (after these few short instructional paragraphs) click on the candle found on the fireplace mantle first. This candle will open up a video recording of a special Advent story. All the other items in the room have been included to help families learn and wonder more about the story they have just experienced together. You can now wander freely around the room, clicking on the other items you find. Each item will take you to a new activity to discover.
Check out the nativity scene under the Christmas tree for more stories and weekly devotional materials. The mixing bowl will reveal a special recipe the prophet Isaiah might enjoy as he speaks to the people of Israel. The keyboard will take you to a video of a new Advent carol to sing, and the papers on the floor will provide the words to this song. The cup of pencil crayons open up an Advent craft each week, and the window on the wall will take you outside for some wintery fun.
Families can come back over and over again during the week to choose something new and exciting to do together. Then, each Sunday, they will discover a new Advent Living Room has been made available for them to play in once again with new stories and activities to engage with.
This is all better experienced than described. So, let’s go visit the Advent 1 Living Room. (Come back afterwards though for instructions on how to receive all five of these Living Rooms for your church).
Now for the how.
Churches are invited to send me an email request to receive all five of the Advent Living Rooms in a series of files that they can then upload and post each week of Advent and on Christmas Eve to their church’s website. These files are free and are a piece of the ministry of the synod. Churches will receive all five files in early November, but will be asked not to post them on their church website right away. Instead you will be asked to hold onto them and only post each file on the first day of each week of Advent and then on Christmas Eve. We wouldn’t want people to be able jump ahead; waiting even during Advent, is important!
When I send the files I will also include the specific dates for uploading and instructions for uploading.
If your church does not wish to add these files directly to your church website, you could choose instead to place a link on your website to the synod website each week, inviting families to find the files there. Each of the Living Rooms will be posted on the synod site on each of the Sundays of Advent as well as Christmas Eve for any visitors to engage with. So, bookmark the synod site and come enjoy.
If your church would like to receive the full collection of the Advent Living Rooms for your website please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will initially receive an email confirming that I have received your request, and then receive a later email forwarding the file links to within the first two weeks of November.
It is my hope that families will find much to hear, see and do this Advent as we all stay close to home this Advent season.