This year Advent will be a little different! However, once we take away the distractions of food, parties and pantos, there might just be more time to spend nurturing our faith. Here are some ideas for a very special Advent this year with biblical resources, online retreats, sound tracks and saint’s day celebrations. This page will develop as more resources come on board.
A daily reflection on the Gospel with gorgeous art https://christian.art
Daily video reflections from Dynamic Catholic: https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-advent-ever
Loyola Press’s Advent calendar is bursting with reflections, articles and videos – something new each day.
Interactive Advent Calendar from Cafod: https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Advent-Calendar
Colour in Advent calendar: https://prayingincolor.com/handouts
Local hero Advent Calendar: choose 26 people/ groups of people from your parish or locality that do difficult or prophetic work. Make them the focus of your Advent calendar (previous idea) (https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/26-ideas-advent-2014-sybil-macbeth)
Simple and effective ideas for giving through Advent: https://www.janetschaeffler.com/Advent_-_A_Time_of_Giving.pdf
God Who Speaks – Scripture based resources
Advent Scripture Cards have been created for our diocese. Playing card format with stunning graphics and a reflection for each day from 1st December. Perfect for families, schools, personal use, First Communion parents or RCIA groups. More information, pdfs to download and print, and link to purchase here: https://northamptondiocese.org/adventcards/
Could Advent 2020 be the start of reading the whole Bible? See here for some wonderful resources, including a whole range of reading plans.
Fantastic resources for the God Who Speaks from Clifton Diocese, including video reflections from all sorts of different people.
Introduction to Mark’s Gospel from the American Catholic Bishops: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/mark/0
Whistlestop Tour of Mark’s Gospel – this may be a poster for schools, but there’s plenty to enrich our Sunday readings through the year as we understand Mark the author more fully. The Bible Society Jesse Tree is a wonderful free resource that everyone will enjoy.
Celebrating the Saints
There are some fantastic saints in Advent. The best known are St Nicholas (6th December) and St Lucy (13th December). Look up the traditions and food associated with both: https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/how-to-celebrate-advent-season-5-awesome-world-traditions. More food and saints ideas here: https://epicpew.com/feast-day-foods-advent/
The wonderful Catholic Icing site has lots of info about Advent saints for kids, including a set of colour-in printables, crafts, prayers and food ideas for each saint’s day.
Two options for an Advent retreat with the Carmelites: one on Saturdays and one on Monday evenings: https://www.oxcacs.org/online-retreat/advent-in-the-spirit-of-carmel/
Virtual prayer walk at Turvey Abbey: https://youtu.be/Y37XaiKi6A8
Something to read
Daily Mass readings for Advent along with morning and evening prayer and all the hours: https://universalis.com/mass.htm The app is expensive but worth it!
Prepare your heart – Daily Advent Reflections with Pope Francis
Books, gifts and seasonal resources from the Redemptorists: https://www.rpbooks.co.uk/advent-christmas-main and Daughters of St Paul https://www.paulineuk.org/browse/Books/Seasonal/Advent-Christmas
6 simple ways to enrich your Advent season: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/6-simple-ways-to-enrich-your-advent-season
Something to listen to
Bishop David will be sharing weekly reflections through Advent: https://northamptondiocese.org
Daily prayer podcasts reflecting on the readings https://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home/
Teresa Brown’s wonderful Advent Candle print out activity that can be used with families and everyone. Each week, a different candle is put into the window, counting up to Christmas Day. Download the templates here and also jpeg versions that can be put on parish websites:
Celebrating Advent with your family: https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/catholic-traditions-for-advent-and-christmas.html
Making an Advent wreath (lots of options): https://www.catholicicing.com/advent-ideas/
100 craft ideas for Advent, including making your own Advent candles.
Creating an Advent tree of kindness: https://www.loyolapress.com/faith-formation/activities/creating-an-advent-tree-of-kindness/
Jesse Tree crafts to make or draw your own: https://www.catholicicing.com/category/jesse-tree/
In these links we have included a range of resources from within the Catholic Church, and some outstanding examples from other Christian denominations and organisations.