An Invitation to Celebrate Advent 2014… Please share your favorite ideas and resources!

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SwissAdventHouseHello friends!  As regular readers will have noticed, we’ve been gearing up for Advent here a little early this year.  Partly that’s to give people time to *PREPARE* for Advent in terms of ordering and obtaining necessary devotional books and resources, but it’s also due to the fact that I (Karen, the Advent-blogger-in-chief here) will be traveling in late November.

We’ll continue posting good Advent resources in the next 10 days and doing all we can to help you and your family prepare for a blessed and Christ-centered Advent. We’ll have an index of all our newly-posted Advent resources soon, but we’d like to invite all our readers and visitors to share your own favorite Advent & Christmas celebration ideas in the comments:

  • a favorite devotional book, or children’s craft book
  • a great Advent calendar
  • a delicious recipe
  • an inspiring hymn or song
  • a link to a helpful Advent resource website
  • a picture of a family Jesse tree, or a favorite ornament
  • a meaningful quote or devotional excerpt
  • Scripture readings that have encouraged you and drawn you closer to Christ during Advent

This year we hope Lent & Beyond can truly be an Advent COMMUNITY with all of our readers participating!

You’ll find all our NEW Advent posts for 2014 here.  

All our Advent entries past & present are here.


Art credit:  (I love this picture of a Swiss town (Lucerne, which I’ve had the joy of visiting – but only in summer) turning its houses into a giant Advent calendar!  It seemed the perfect illustration for this post inviting our online community to share Advent resources!)

5 Responses to An Invitation to Celebrate Advent 2014… Please share your favorite ideas and resources!

  1. I was inspired to post this by a comment left on one of the Advent entries we posted yesterday. The comment gave info about a FANTASTIC online Jesse tree resource* which I’d never seen before. No matter how much I troll the web, there will be great Advent resources I’ll never discover unless someone points me to them. Many of the best resources we link here have come from the recommendations of our commenters and the bloggers we follow. Don’t be shy… please share! Let’s encourage one another to seek Christ in this season.

    *for those who are curious, here’s the Jesse tree website info

  2. Here’s a lovely resource someone Tweeted me about:

    Celtic Advent: 40 Days of Joy, Love and Gratitude,
    by Susan Forshey

    I’ll be creating a separate blog entry for this soon, but in the meantime…

    Here’s the description
    For each day, from November 15 until Epiphany, I’ve thought of one thing I can do to practice joy and gratitude, and to give love, putting it on a calendar that draws on ancient Advent and Christmas traditions.

    In the 6th century, the Celtic Christians celebrated Advent during the 40 days before Christmas, as a mirror to the period of Lent before Easter. In this age of blurring of holy-days and consumerism, I like the idea of starting Advent earlier, so that Thanksgiving is included, but also so there can be a longer, more intentional preparation for Christ’s coming.

    Another tradition from around the 6th century (and probably earlier) is the “O” antiphons. An antiphon, from the Latin antiphona, meaning sounding against, was a repeated line of scripture used as bookends to the psalms in daily prayer and the Eucharist. The antiphon was a prayer “sound-byte,” capturing the most important aspect of the reading, helping those gathered remember through repetition. The “O” antiphons highlight a scriptural name of Christ and offer a jumping off point for reflection. Most people would recognize a version of these antiphons as the verses of the Advent carol O Come, O Come Emmanuel. They are still prayed in many churches–as they have been for more than 1500 years–from December 17 to December 23.

    Finally, Christmas seems to end abruptly on December 26th in our consumer-culture celebration. Another lost tradition marks the Twelve Days from Christmas to Epiphany. Epiphany means appearance or manifestation and remembers the Magi visiting Jesus; Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan–the public revelation that he is God’s Son; and the first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. The period from December 25 to January 6th is an ideal time for reflecting on the Light that has come into the world with the birth of Christ.

    Pulling these three traditions together, I’ve created a calendar of ideas for living each day intentionally and joyfully.

  3. Embrace the Middle East, (a registered charity which partners with local Christians in the Middle East to help the most disadvantaged) tweeted us about a Jesse Tree book and ornament set they have available.

    Find details here:

    Here’s a description:
    Our exclusive Advent resource features readings, discussion topics and prayers for each day. 24 unique olive wood tree decorations, carved in Bethlehem, represent the book’s themes.

    This exclusive Embrace the Middle East product is the perfect way for families, church groups and schools to explore the Bible and talk about faith during Advent.

    Book (48 pages) – Size: A5 (booklet)
    Pack of 24 decorations – Size: approx 5cm each

    – See more at:

  4. Here are various sets of Jesse Tree ornaments and an Advent guide that a follower on Twitter recommended:

    I’ve not had the chance to review them too closely since I’m traveling…

  5. […] An Invitation to Celebrate Advent 2014… Please share your favorite ideas and resources! […]

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