Advent and Christmas Resources
There are many resources around the Advent and Christmas theme but here are just a few to get started. Alot of them are available through Durham Cathedral's Shop.
Barefoot Ways: Praying Through Advent, Christmas and Beyond by Stephen Cherry. Many of us will remember Stephen from his time in our Diocese. From the Introduction: 'Barefoot Ways offers the reader a poetic, prayerful meditation for every day of December and January. It connects with the spiritual themes of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany and takes the reader from the first days of a new Christian year to the feast of Candlemas on February 2nd. These three great Christian seasons are divided into thematic areas, each of which is given a brief introduction...'The distance from Advent to Candlemas is considerable, and there are many ways across its fearful and fascinating terrain. I offer here some 'barefoot' ways - by which I mean ways that are both down to earth and yet full of spiritual aspiration and hope...'
Journey to the Manger by Paula Gooder focuses on the events leading up to and surrounding the birth of Jesus and includes: the Annunciation, the birth narratives, the flight into Egypt, the presentation in the Temple. She also considers relevant Old Testament prophecies and why the genealogies are important. Paula Gooder uses her extensive knowledge of the New Testament world, its language and culture, to reveal fresh insights and to open up hidden depths in these familiar stories. It is part of a series called Biblical Explorations and is rooted in her belief that greater understanding leads to greater devotion.
Reflections for Advent by Maggie Dawn, Barbara Mosse and Sam Wells
This book offers a seasonal extract from the Reflections for Daily Prayer 2015/16 annual edition. It provides a quality, yet inexpensive daily devotional companion throughout Advent - a season that is increasingly important in popular devotion.
Each day includes: Full lectionary details for Morning Prayer, a reflection on one of the Bible readings and a Collect for the day
It also includes a simple form of daily prayer for Advent and a guide to keeping the season well by Sam Wells.
Love Life Live Advent by Paula Gooder & Peter Babington
Make room for the manger this December with Love Life Live Advent, an all-age resource to help children and families celebrate the run-up to Christmas.
Following on from Love Life Live Lent, Love Life Live Advent provides a simple prayer activity for children and families to do together, every day of December until Christmas Day.
It is brightly illustrated throughout, and designed to heighten children's anticipation of Christmas and to enrich everyone's understanding of the season of waiting and preparation.
Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell
Using the brilliant, deceptively simple device of telling the Christmas story backwards, Stephen Cottrell helps us encounter it as if for the first time. Narrating the story from the perspective of key characters gives us insights into its many horrors and uncertainties as well as its joys. Each imaginative reflection is prefaced by a Bible reading and followed by a prayer.
Why Wish You a Merry Christmas? What matters (and What Doesn't in the Festive Season) by Nick Baines
Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, takes a personal journey through the ups and downs of the typical Christmas experience. Funny, throught-provoking and never preachy.
The Advent Calendar by Steven Croft
Packed with codes, secrets, biblical parallels, and reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas, this story can be read on many levels, and will be enjoyed by adults and children alike. When Alice’s Uncle Sam brings home a mysterious calendar that’s short on chocolate but big on surprises, she is thrown into an Advent she never dreamed of. Codes arrive by text message and open the doors in the calendar, drawing Alice and Sam into fantastical new worlds. Accompanied by famous figures from the Bible, they explore the great themes of Advent and Christianity and find themselves maturing, changing and questioning. Life in their own world will never be quite the same again. It is available both as a paperback and an ebook.
Together for a Season: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany All Age material for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany by Diane Craven, Gill Ambrose, Peter Craig-Wild, Mary Hawes
This book draws on the material offered in Common Worship: Times and Seasons and includes fully worked out all-age services, creative suggestions for incorporating multi-sensory elements into the worship and additional practical resources.
Ready Steady Slow An Advent Calendar to Unwind with by jan McFarlane, Paula Gooder, Nick Baines, John Kiddle, Stephen Cottrell
Launched in 2009 but still poplular. It offers a practical daily tip, reading, short reflection and reference to an online video with a helpful message.
Windows on a Hidden World by Jane Maycock As a priest, married to a vicar, with four school-age children, Jane Maycock is all too familiar with the struggle not to be engulfed by busyness in the run-up to Christmas. As a result, the reflections she has written for this lovely book are engagingly infused with real-life happenings, even as they invite us to stop and consider what Advent really means. The author draws on the insights of the biblical authors, poets such as Robert Southwell, and contemporary hymn writers including Timothy Dudley-Smith, to present a series of windows through which we can explore the main ideas surrounding the season. We are taken through the themes of wilderness and of God's choice, and examine the place of conflict and confrontation in Christian faith. We look more deeply at the familiar nativity scene, and at the idea of the second coming. Underpinning Windows on a Hidden World is the conviction that we are bound up in an intimate relationship with a God of love.
Creative Ideas for Advent & Christmas contains a wealth of inspirational easy-to-do ideas for the busy weeks in the lead-up to Christmas. All the ideas use readily available materials and have instant appeal. Many can be slotted in to any situation, used to illustrate the story of Christmas, or just done for pure enjoyment as part of the exciting 'getting ready' time. Some use seasonal objects that are easy to find in the shops, such as paper chains, or things that many people will have in their Christmas box, such as last year's Christmas cards.
The activities are ideal for children aged 4-11, but will be enjoyed equally by people of all ages. There are 80 ideas in total, many of which could become part of traditional family, church and community celebrations each year.
Going for Growth is the Church of England website supporting ministry with children and young people. There are lots of links from here to ideas and resources around the church year and seasons including Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. The information and ideas using 'Jesse Tree' offer a way to trace Jesus' family line or the story of salvation using a different symbol for each day of Advent. It's a great way of anticipating Christmas and may offer a fresh approach to the season.
Pocket Prayers for Advent and Christmas. Contains prayers, carols and hymns celebrating the festive period.
Structured to provide a prayer a day throughout the festive period, this new addition to the popular Pocket Prayers is divided into practical themes, such as 'Waiting...the season of Advent' and 'Welcoming...the joy of Christmas day'.
Do Nothing .... Christmas is Coming: An Advent Calendar with a difference by Bishop Stephen Cottrell. Now, Do Nothing... Christmas is Coming turns to what, for many, is the busiest time of the year. For every day of Advent, Stephen Cottrell provided short, practical steps to help us slow down, take time out - amd resist the pressure of the Christmas whirl.
People and Places. Advent, says Nick Harding, is the ideal time to reflect on some of the characters and places we meet in the Christmas story. Fifteen people and places are explored in this book through suggested readings, comments, ideas, games and prayers.
The Unsheltered Heart: An at home Advent Retreat
Candles and Conifers: Resources for All Saints and Advent by Ruth Burgess. Written by the Iona Community members, associates, friends and others, this is a collection of seasonal resources for groups and individuals - prayers, liturgies, poems, reflections, sermons, meditations, stories and responses.
Hay and Stardust: Resources for Christmas to Candlemas by Ruth Burgess. Covers the season of Christmastide, including Christmas Eve, Holy Innocents' Day, Winter and New Year, Epiphany, Homelessness Sunday, and Candlemas. This is a companion resource book to candles and conifers. It also contains eight Christmas plays, including a puppet play.
Celebrating Christingle. Planning a Christingle Service? Here is a resource for all involved in preparing such an event, combining fun sketches and historical background with six fully worked-out orders of service.
Get messy and explore Christingle in a fun and interactive way.
Christingle is a great theme to use for a Messy Church, as anyone who has spent Advent or Epiphany knee-deep in oranges and dolly mixtures will know.Messy Church, if you haven't come across it yet, is church for people of all ages based around craft, celebration and eating together, usually happening once a month.You can find out more about Messy Church at http://www.messychurch.org.uk/ and about Christingle at http://www.christingle.org./
Gift is a six-week course which helps children prepare for Christmas. Using a theme which is familiar to them at this time of year, that of Gift, it leads them through an exploration of what the birth of Jesus means to them today.
The course is organised so that each week the children consider a different aspect of gift. They listen to the word of God and then respond to it in a variety of creative ways. Clearly structured so that it is easy to follow, the course provides a reflective balance to the feverish, external preparation for Christmas, offering an opportunity to reflect on the meaning behind the tinsel. The CD-ROM in this Leader’s book contains everything needed for the children.
A Jesse Tree for Advent is a wonderful resource, providing a visual focus for the school and setting the Christmas story in a wider context. Each of the 15 assemblies is based on a character from the Jesse Tree, and suggests a symbol to hang on your tree from among the photocopiable templates included.
You can also get ideas and resources from the following links.
Worship resources from Kevin Mayhew
BRF Advent and Christmas Reading
Christian Aid Christmas resources
CMS Share the Light a resource for Advent
Wildgoose Publications Christmas in the Iona/Celtic tradition
If you have come across any resources you think others may find useful email the details, by clicking here, and they can be added to this page.