For this Advent season, we have multiple resources to help you in your journey. By clicking on the tabs below, you will gain access to videos, e-books, and downloadable programs. Included is an Advent calendar.
It is our hope that the 2016 Advent Resources will help you to be able to provide your congregation with quality worship services to evangelize and disciple them into truly-devoted followers of Christ.
The Journey resources include (click to download individual resources, or download them all below):
- (5) Worship Services with Advent Wreath Readings, Dramas and Sermons
- Family Advent Calendar (.pub format)
- Family Advent Devotions
- (5) Jr. Church Programs: [Week 1] [Week 2] [Week 3] [Week 4] [Week 5]
- (2) Youth Christmas Programs
- Community Care Ministries: Nursing home visitation program
- Graphics for PowerPoint
Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here
Max Lucado loves Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. The more trees the better.
He loves it because somewhere someone will ask the Christmas questions: What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me?
And the answers he’s found give us all hope. God knows what it’s like to be a human. When we talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, we have a friend in heaven.
And Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross. Because of Bethlehem, we have a Savior in heaven.
These are the heart shaping promises of Christmas. Long after the guests have left and the carolers have gone home and the lights have come down, these promises endure.
Let’s turn on the lamp, curl up in a comfortable spot, and look into the odd, wonderful story of Bethlehem.
Max has found a lifetime of hope. We will too.
The purpose of Advent is to make us pregnant with hope. For many, the holiday season is not filled with joy, family, and gifts, but anxiety, stress, and despair. Advent seeks to reframe our experiences with new expectations, expectations that will not disappoint. It is the expectancy that new life will start to grow within all of us. However, we must be willing to make room for an interruption. Can we make that space to receive this gift?
These films are provided to help bring our attention to the season, to a sacred, different time. Each can be used in a communal or individual setting. May God use this time as a fresh breath, a new life within you and among you. May the stirrings of this season take root within you, extend and serve the world through you.
The (9) videos and discussion guide in this series are available for download. We’ve even created versions for ibook or Android if you’re into that sort of thing. Fill out the quick form at the bottom of this page to access this content.
SESSION TITLES AND FILMS
- Advent week 1.1 – Advent as Reorientation – Brian Zahnd “Learning How to Hope”
- Advent week 1.2 – Christmas as Incarnation – Parker Palmer “The Risk of Incarnation”
- Advent week 2.1 – Advent as Wisdom – Richard Rohr “The Welcoming of a Bigger Mind”
- Advent week 2.2 – Advent as Looking – Glennon Doyle Melton – “Be Still and Look”
- Advent week 3.1 – Advent as Breaking the Circle – Wm. Paul Young “Coming to Find Us”
- Advent week 3.2 – Advent as Imagination – Marlon Hall “Fully Human”
- Advent week 4.1 – Advent as Subversion – Richard Rohr “Bearing the Divine Through the Ordinary”
- Advent week 4.2 – Advent as Already – Rudy Rasmus “A Resurrected Christmas”
- Advent week 5 (Christmas) – Christmas as Embodiment – Barbara Brown Taylor “Matter Matters”
Request eBook or files here:
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
—Luke 2:7 (KJV)
Do you Have the Christmas Spirit?
My siblings and I used to ask each other this question every year. The Christmas spirit wasn’t automatic. It wasn’t connected to a date on the calendar. It was a mood. A feeling. A sense that Christmas was coming and you were excited about it. My brother would say, “It just doesn’t seem like Christmas until it snows.” A sister would say, “I just can’t get into the Christmas spirit this year.” But one day, someone would come home from the shopping center and say, “They were playing Christmas carols in Filene’s! That really put me in the Christmas spirit.” Later, we’d see the Christmas banners on the light posts downtown and the decorations in church. We started buying presents for each other. We put up our tree. Mom pulled out the Bing Crosby record and started baking treats and the kitchen smelled wonderful.
We put the manger scene on the table in the hall. Mom would read us the Christmas story, “… And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Now we had the Christmas spirit! It wasn’t the sights, the sounds, the smells, or the activities. In the end, it was the baby in the manger that really got us into the Christmas spirit.
Our prayer for you is that these quotes, songs and Scriptures, (along with the sights, sounds and smells) will point you to the baby in the manger and help you to find the Christmas spirit.
For a downloadable version of the calendar above, click here.