Celebration #1 – The Advent Calendar
The season of Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continues until Christmas Day. Traditionally, Advent calendars have had windows to open which mark the days between December 1 and Christmas Day.
This Advent calendar is based upon the idea of marking the days between those dates and using Christmas symbols to help us remember some of the significant events in the Christmas story and the history of our Lord’s life.
It is also based upon the idea of making a devotional calendar as a family to make this time of sharing each day a special part of the family’s celebration of Christmas.
These Advent decorations are historic symbols and are commonly used on Christmas trees. They were first designed and used by the earliest Christians and were found on jewelry, utensils, in the catacombs and in buildings. They are symbols used by the early church and by the church today to show the peoples’ faith in Jesus Christ. This faith is evident to all who view the symbols. They are always made in gold and white to symbolize majesty and purity.
We hope that as you make and use your Christmas Advent calendar, you and your family will more fully experience and enjoy Christmas, and create memories that will endure for generations. As we were created in God’s image to be creative, let your ability find full expression as you create your decorations together.
Each day there is a Bible reading and a devotional reading. On most days, a Christmas carol follows the readings. It is not necessary to read every Bible passage or sing every verse listed, but only as many as time and inclination allows. Share the opportunity to read the Bible, read the devotion, and lead the carol, among family and friends. Consider using these in church or in Bible studies.
Our family enjoys sharing the devotions around a table or in a living room bright with Christmas lights and candles. Sometimes we have egg nog or hot cocoa with Christmas cookies.
The Advent Calendar and Symbols
There are several ways to make the Advent calendar. You may use paper, felt or other fabrics or materials, and adorn your decorations with sequins, beads and pearls and other trimmings.
Steps to follow:
1. Enlarge the tree pattern onto newspaper or a paper bag. Cut your tree from green felt, construction paper, or some other material.
2. Choose an appropriate neutral color for the background if you wish to make your tree and calendar into a banner. Otherwise you will need to hang the tree from the top to the wall.
3. Using white and gold paper or felt, trace around the patterns or cut them right from the book and use them as a pattern.
4. When you are finished with the decorations, if you choose felt, decorate with sequins, beads and other trim as desired. Make them as fancy or ornate as possible for this is part of the symbolism.
5. If you make your decorations from paper, draw in some of the details as for example on the grapes, shell, etc.
6. There are two ways to attach the decorations to the tree. You can use velcro or snaps (for the felt only). Glue the velcro dots to the back of the decoration and to appropriate places on your tree (the ends of the branches and along a trim line (either imaginary or one you have glued on) Rickrack works great for this.
7. You will need 23 envelopes. Number these and put the appropriate decoration in each one.
8. Each day read one of more of the Scripture passages given, and then read the devotion. Afterward, remove the decoration from the envelope, and attach it to the tree.
9. On Christmas Day the devotion to read does not include putting a decoration on the tree, but rather refers back to several that have already been affixed to the tree.
10. On Day 1, hang the tree and begin the observance. On all the other days, attach the decoration to the tree.
11. You may make all the decorations in advance or make them one at a time, each day, as your family chooses. If you choose to make them each day, be sure to allow enough time to complete the each one before reading the devotion. It is a good idea to have the patterns cut out in advance.
Supplies you will need – paper, pencil, scissors, eraser, large piece of green felt or construction paper 12 x 18″, large piece of white and gold paper or felt, velcro snaps (if using felt and velcro is not desired) glue sequins, beads, pearls, etc. needle and thread, rickrack and/or other gold trims, small silk flowers (for felt decorations), piece of ¼ or 1/8″ doweling to hang tree if a banner is made.