How do you celebrate Advent?
I can’t believe Advent is approaching so quickly! I’ve been feeling super Christmassy since September this year, but November has really flown by and December will be upon us before we know it!
Lots of people celebrate Advent in different ways, be it an Advent calendar or a certain Bible reading plan. But, honestly, Advent can get so lost amongst the preparations for Christmas – the shopping, the Christmas services, the travels. But it’s such an important time in the church calendar: it’s time for us to prepare ourselves for Christmas, and to reflect on, and look forwards to, Jesus’ return.
So, here are some ideas for fun ways to celebrate Advent!
Reindeer Cups Advent Calendar
I love this idea that I originally saw on Pinterest. It’s a pack that Hobbycraft are selling but you could totally recreate it yourself! Just find 25 paper or biodegradable cups, decorate them as reindeer and attach either attach them all to a long rope, or dot them around your house!
Inside the cups you could hide small toys, chocolates or sweets, Bible verses, challenges… whatever you think would be best!
Arnold’s Advent Challenges
Last year I created 3 challenges for Advent: A Bible reading challenge, a Bible writing challenge, and a prayer challenge. Whether you completed these last year or not, why not try them out this year? They are a great way to refocus our attention upon God during this season of Advent and ensure we aren’t being too caught up in the craziness of December. Read all about these challenges and download them here.
Reverse Advent Calendar
I’ve seen this idea floating around on Facebook for a while, but it’s such a creative and thoughtful idea! Simply find a container, and instead of taking something on each day of Advent, give something instead. It’s probably best to choose where you want to donate items to before you start so you know what to donate; but this could include a local food bank, a homeless shelter, a refuge for those escaping domestic abuse, whatever facilities you have in your community that need your support. So, each day, you can add 1 item to your box, so by Christmas Day you can donate this to people in need and bless them this Christmas.
Advent is a great opportunity to spend time in fellowship with other people, and to extend hospitality to those around us. Why not set yourself a challenge of hosting someone at your house at least once a week? This could include people from church, people you haven’t seen in a long time, people you are still just getting to know. It’s a challenge because it involves us leaving space in our busy schedule to extend hospitality and serve someone else; but it is also so rewarding and helps us to celebrate this joyful season together in community.
Make your own prayer calendar
Whether you’re making the reindeer cups advent calendar, the Christmas tree advent calendar I created last year (check it out here), or using your own advent calendar; you could also add in your very own prayer challenge, designing a prayer calendar around the issues that you feel you most need to pray for this advent season. Take a regular wall calendar, and for each day of December write in the thing you want to pray for that day. You could either plan out each day before Advent begins or choose something to pray for on the day!
Creative Prayer Bags
This is a wonderful idea to give out to the families in your church, or you could cater it to be gifted to family members and friends of any age! The concept is to create a goody bag full of everything you need to try a number of different creative prayer ideas. Come up with your prayer ideas, then make sure that you include everything needed within the bag.
A couple of examples could be:
Snowman Modelling – a chance for families to model their “snow” in a series of different prayers. Make sure your bag contains white plasticine, and a series of prayer prompts such as: What are you thankful for today? What are you fearful of?
Gifts for the World – lets people take a journey around the world and pray that God will bless different parts of the world with the gifts that they need (peace, clean water, safety from natural disasters etc.). Make sure your bag contains a map and a small toy car or plane.
How are you going to celebrate Advent this year?