It is so easy to get caught up in the crazy, consumer, Christmas frenzy at this time of year, as evidenced by the nightmare that was Black Friday, and today it’s Cyber Monday! It often means that we miss the opportunity to celebrate the season of Advent. A time of watching and waiting, a time to look back to what has been and to look forward to what is to come.
If you want to take some time to pause and reflect then there are many on-line resources that can help you. Some I’ve come across are below. You might have others you recommend – if so, please do share them with us.
Can Christmas still change the world? The Christmas story is a story of love, hope, redemption and relationship. So, what happened? How did it turn into stuff, stress and debt? Somehow, we’ve traded the best story in the world for the story of what’s on sale. Advent Conspiracy is a global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All.
Stewardship’s Advent Wonder
In the midst of the consumerist hum Stewardship invites you to stop and reflect on the Christmas season in a wholly different way, with their free Advent Wonder email series. Stewardship takes a fresh look at how different Biblical voices of generosity and faith weave together to create the most familiar, but most thrilling story on earth. Each Thursday throughout December 2016 they’ll send you a new thought to ponder and share. Create some space. Join in a journey of Wonder.
Advent with Tearfund
There’s so much more to Advent calendars than chocolate. Or watercolour donkeys… Tearfund’s 2016 Advent calendar has got poems, prayers, videos, reflections, messages from around the world and much more besides. Every day from December 1st, you will receive a short email. Together, they will lead you on an inspirational journey, leading to Christmas Day and the celebration of Christ’s coming into the world.
Embrace Me’s daily Advent reflections
Inspired by Christmas carols, Embrace’s daily Advent emails will bring you tidings of comfort and joy from the Middle East. Join in 25 precious moments that will help you pause, reflect and focus on Jesus and what His love is doing for the most vulnerable and marginalised people in the Middle East.
The Anglican Communion’s #AdventWord
Be part of the Anglican Communion’s Global Advent Calendar. It’s an innovative way to engage in the season of Advent with people all over the world. Simply respond to the daily meditation emailed to you with images and prayers that speak to your heart. Your images and prayers will appear in the Advent Calendar with others from around the world. Join in as we anticipate the coming of Christ, the fulfilment of our deepest longings.
What about starting your Advent season by giving to those who can’t give back to you? After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, tomorrow, Tuesday 29 November, is known as Giving Tuesday. Make a pledge to do good stuff for charity on #givingtuesday 2016.
And if you’re going to give to a charity, why don’t you make the most of The Big Give Christmas Challenge. #ChristmasChallenge16 takes place from 12pm (midday) Tues 29th November to 12pm Fri 2nd December giving you the chance to double your donation to participating charities.
This Advent, will you take some time out of all your Christmas preparations to consider the now and not yet of God’s Kingdom here on earth?