Following our prayer time earlier this week I wanted to spend one more of these Advent preparation slots thinking about Advent itself. Next week I promise we will start the Christmas preparation!
Today let’s prayerfully plan how we will spend our time during Advent. When you have completed your Christmas preparations by 30 November, what will this create time for in Advent? Do you have some things that you do every year? Are looking for something new to do this year? Our task today is to choose the devotionals and other contemplative activities that will be a part of your holy Advent.
To get us started I have collected a small page of resources on Pinterest. There are some devotionals, pictures, craft activities and more. Also below are direct links to some of my favourites:
Personal Quiet Times
Praying Isaiah in Advent – I love the Advent prophesies but am not very familiar with where to find them amidst the larger prophets so this is a reading plan that I’m drawn to this season.
The Love God Greatly Bible Studies have been really significant for me this year. Their readings are usually quite short, leaving plenty of time for reflection. I’m wondering whether it might focus more on the New Testament and link up well with the Isaiah readings. At the same time I don’t want to cram in too many studies. While I was praying about Advent at the start of the week I was struck by the need for time to just be, and to wonder so my priority is to go deep into whatever I do, rather than try to do everything.
I enjoyed reading and pondering The Women of Christmas last year, an imaginative look at Christmas through the eyes of Mary, Elizabeth and Anna.
I’ve also signed up for this art journal, which actually starts in November as something to prepare for Advent. I am mindful of not overdoing it but I want to include creativity in my Advent plan and so I will just go at whatever pace I can manage.
If you like audio devotionals, I have recently discovered the God in All Things podcast, which last year included a weekly Advent reflection. Also the daily Pray As You Go podcast is a lovely daily liturgical meditation.
Last Advent I enjoyed Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift, a Jesse Tree inspired devotional. This year she is releasing a Children’s edition and I’m excited to see that. I’m not sure if we will follow it as we already have another firm family favourite 30 Days with Mary and Joseph.
One Wintry Night is a lovely read-aloud by Ruth Graham, also Jesse Tree inspired, new to us a couple of years ago.
Getting ready for Advent – This post shows how to make an Advent wreath part of your family’s preparation. It shares the meaning of the Advent wreath, and lists readings to use each week as you light the candles. I really appreciate how Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts suggests shortening the readings if you have very small children, and I think what we might do is use just one reading on the Sunday, and then aim to read the others later in the week as we light the candle at tea time. There are only 3 readings each week, so this feels do-able.
Crafting & other ideas
A new idea I read about this week is a Jesus Stocking – the idea is that every day of Advent all family members write something that they are thankful for on a slip of paper and add it to the stocking. On Christmas Day the stocking is emptied and all the thanksgivings read out. We might read out the thanksgivings on Christmas Eve before re-hanging the stockings for presents!
That feels like more than enough to share, I don’t want to overwhelm you, and please be reassured that I will not be doing even half of these ideas this year! Do share your favourite Advent activities in the comments below, and enjoy your time this week getting prepared. I hope that the anticipation of having them ready and being free to jump into these activities on December 1, will keep you motivated for the Christmas preparation that is about to come!