Are you beginning to make plans for the 2021 Advent and Christmas season?
I am too!
I’ve been reading through the lectionary texts, looking through children’s story bibles and other story books, testing out crafts, listening to music, and playing with Google Classrooms all with a mind to creating engaging intergenerational resources for the upcoming season of Advent for your church to enjoy. Today I want to give you a head’s up on what resources you can expect from me later this month and early in November. I hope this will help you consider how they might work with what you’re planning for your church, and perhaps even lighten your load just a little bit as they fill in some of the areas you are hoping to fill.
Advent Devotional Booklet
Each Advent I write an Advent Devotional Booklet that is suitable for all ages. This year our booklet will be framed around the lectionary texts for 2021 (Year C) with weekly themes connecting the texts to each other. Each day will feature a bible reading, a few open-ended questions for personal reflection and/or conversation, and a closing prayer. Each week will also include three or four bible stories for families with younger children along with simple weekly crafts, activities or creative ideas that invite us all to try something new, have fun, and care for others.
This booklet will be available FREE for churches to distribute throughout their congregation and community. The devotional booklet will be available for download on this website in late October.
To get an idea of what this booklet will look like, click here to view our 2020 devotional booklet.
An Interactive Advent Calendar
Last year I experimented with creating interactive Advent Living Rooms for congregations to upload on their church website or email to church homes. Each week users were invited to click on six or seven new items they would find placed throughout a Christmas decorated living room. Each click opened users up a world of videoed stories, music, crafts, recipes, outdoor adventures and much more.
These living rooms were a great success, and so I’m working on creating an interactive Advent Calendar this year that will feature a new door to be opened each day of Advent. Once again a simple click will take users on an Advent adventure of stories, songs, recipes, games, adventures, or crafts each day of Advent.
Our Advent Calendar will follow the themes of the Advent Devotional Booklet, but will offer new and additional opportunities for everyone.
In late October I will upload a sample of the Advent Calendar for you to interact with and invite you to subscribe to. Once you’ve subscribed to the calendar, you will be sent an email later in November that will include screen shots and links for the calendar along with detailed instructions for uploading it onto your church’s website for people to interact with there, and/or for you to email directly to homes for their use.
The interactive Advent Calendar will be available FREE for congregations to use.
If you would like to read a bit more about these how these interactive spaces work, click here to read the introductory article from Advent 2020 and click through the first week’s living room to sample the feast.
A Virtual Christmas Pageant
I’ve received a number of requests for a simple Christmas pageant script that would work well for smaller congregations with few children, as well as be suitable for video recording by the readers and actors at home to stay within the guidelines of social distancing and masking. This is something I am beginning to work on and hope to make available by late October. I am imagining a script that would feature multiple video clips that could be spaced throughout a more traditional in-person worship service, or alternatively could be spliced together to create a shorter, complete videoed pageant. It’s still in the dreaming stages, so I can’t say too much more about it, but I hope it will be a helpful resource for your church.
Come back here in a few weeks to find the script available for your use this year.
If you’d like to view or use the script for the hybrid Lessons and Carols/Christmas Pageant service that I wrote last year, click here to be taken to that page.
One Last Resource You’ll Want to Know About
If you’re beginning to look for great intergenerational worship ideas for Advent, there is a special resource I’d like to share with you. It comes to us from Intergen out of 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.
This year they have created the wonderful FREE resource Advent: Something is Coming! for intergenerational worship, small groups, and families . This resource offers creative and unique ideas for introducing the lectionary texts with detailed reflections on their selected key text for each week. Each gathering theme encourages us to pray, reflect, grieve, and rejoice. The weekly theme then moves smoothly into the continual creation of a simple Nativity scene framed under an expanding Jesse Tree. In this downloadable resource you will discover ample material for all four weeks of Advent along with materials for Christmas Eve/Day.
I’ve reviewed Something Is Coming and while it is designed for worship and small intergenerational gatherings in Australia, which presently have fewer pandemic limitations than worship services here in Canada, it is an incredibly flexible resource that I believe could be easily adapted to our worship services, both in-person and virtually. Along with great scripts for wondering with your congregation, the materials include nativity ‘printables’ for members of the worshipping community to come to the front of the sanctuary and assist in assembling the nativity scene. In our context I can imagine a set of nativity figures being used by the worship leader up front, while family groups in their pews and/or at home do the same with their own set of ‘printables’ and build their own nativity in their pew. Each household could then take their weekly set of figures home to set up reminding everyone that something is indeed coming very soon.
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.
I hope some or all of these resources will help you and your congregation this Advent reflect on and celebrate the growing light as we anticipate the coming of the Christ child among us.
Don’t forget to check in to the synod website throughout the fall to find and download each of these resources as they are released, or better yet, sign up as a website subscriber and you’ll receive an email as soon as they are uploaded on the website. I will not use your email in any way beyond your receiving email notices of articles as they are published on the synod website.