“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” (Luke 2: 8-10) Advent is when we wait, most poignantly, for Jesus to break into our world, God-in-flesh, liberator, teacher, healer.
Too easily, December is full of shopping lists, baking cookies, going to pageants, hosting parties, and feeling that sense of MORE – get more stuff, do more things, eat more sweets…all the opposite of what Jesus is about. Like a season of greed for MORE gifts, rather than gratitude for the greatest gift already given.
Consider the story of the shepherds depicted on the Advent Calendar as young women shepherding in the night. “They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them” (Luke 2: 16-20).
Global Women’s Project offers the Advent Calendar, written by Kim Hill Smith with artwork by Jessie Long, to nurture gratitude (rather than greed) within the midst of Advent. This calendar is filled with scripture, prayer prompts, activities and taxes, along with a color-by-day Christmas image. Download and print the calendar; it’s free to use and share (we hope you will donate your contributions to GWP).
Advent comes on slightly different dates each year; this calendar is for December 1-25 so you can use it in any year. You can use the calendar in personal prayer time, with your family around the dinner table, in a Sunday school class or small group with weekly check-ins, or as a congregation.
How to share the calendar
Lead Sunday school or other activity time that could be inter-generational or happen simultaneously in multiple classes. Download a game and Group session handout!
Themed potluck: recipes from Extending the Table, More with Less, Simply in Season, etc OR “simple” foods OR “global” foods OR “Christmas” foods
Post on bulletin board in church with donation box
Send out daily prompt by email/facebook
Discuss weekly in Sunday school and/or worship to share insights from previous week
Share in Advent morning devotionals or Bible studies
Invite your family to give the Advent calendar as a gift to one another, rather than buying presents.
What ideas do you have? Let us know!
Previous Advent Calendars
Mary and Baby Jesus – Advent 2019
Written by Anna Lisa Gross and Designed by Jessie Long