Advent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve, thus there is some variation in its length.
Advent is traditionally a season of expectation and hope. And yet, it often gets overlooked as an important part of Christmas in the flurry that leads up to it. Preparing for Christmas is just as important as celebrating it. Here are some simple and easy ways to recognizing Advent as a separate and cherished season as you prepare for Christmas.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
— Greg Anderson
With everything moving so fast around us, it is important to slow down and take the time to notice the sounds and sights around you. Savor each bite of your food and enjoy the company of others without thinking about the future. When you slow down, you realize how much there is to appreciate in this world and you become more grounded and less anxious. Go for a walk. Spend time in nature. Make time each day to be still.
Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word used to describe the “art of creating intimacy, cosiness of the soul … and taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things”.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe … ”
— Meik Wiking from The Little Book of Hygge
Dedicate some time to yourself to savor the things that bring you joy. For some people that might be exercise, reading, or doing something else they enjoy. But for a lot of people, turning to art is a wonderful form of self-care and self-expression. Adult coloring books have become a popular way to help relieve stress, achieve mindfulness, and inspire creativity. Here are a few holiday inspired coloring books to celebrate the Advent season.
- Christmas Mandalas Coloring Book
- Winter Magic: Beautiful Holiday Patterns Coloring Book for Adults
- Peace. Joy. Color.: Celebrate the Season with 20 Tear-Out Coloring Cards
- Christmas Designs Adult Coloring Book
Incorporate meaningful rituals
Find small ways to turn regular activities into ritualistic celebrations. Creating new daily practices, transforms ordinary moments into opportunities to stop, show gratitude, and marvel at the beauty of the Advent season. Consider adding a simple ritual in the morning when you awake and again at night, just before bedtime. It may be a very simple act, short prayer, candle lighting, poetry, or quiet meditation. Keep it brief, but deeply meaningful for you.
- Examen Daily Prayer
- Pray As You Go: Online Resources for Daily Prayer
- Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
- A Catholic Family Advent: Prayers and Activities
- Advent Illustrated: A Bible Journaling Challenge
- Let Us Keep the Feast: Living the Church Year at Home
- Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day
- Prayers for the Domestic Church: A Handbook for Worship in the Home
- Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice
Even if you don’t think you’re particularly talented there are countless ways to donate your time and skills to help others. Particularly for newcomers, families who have recently experienced a loss or illness, and those living alone. This time of year particularly isolating and difficult for these people. Spending time with someone can be the most important gift you give this season.
Making a positive impact in your community does not have to be complicated. By sharing what you already have you can help someone in your community have a better day. Find ways to give back through Volunteer Match.
Play anticipatory music
Advent is a time of peace, love, and joy. There is a beauty in hinting at it as we prepare for Christmas and slowly build up to the celebration. There is plenty of great Advent music to help set the season’s mood.
- Advent At Ephesus
- Veni Emmanuel
- Christmas Adagios (Traditional)
- Silent Night: 25 Carols of Peace and Tranquility
- Celtic Harp Of Dreams
- Joyful Noel (Piano Medleys)
- Windham Hill Holiday Guitar Collection (Contemporary)
- Songs of Joy & Peace
Display or make an Advent wreath
Advent wreaths use candles to mark the four Sundays before Christmas. Many churches use candles to represent peace, hope, joy, and love. Wreaths can use the main theme of waiting to give structure and meaning to Advent, with each candle focused on different aspects of the season.
- We Light the Candles
- O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath
- Nativity Scene Advent Wreath Candle Holder
- Personal Advent Candleholder Wreath
- DIY Advent Wreaths on Pinterest
Read an Advent devotional
Reading an Advent daily devotional can help you focus on the season in a way that is inspirational, encouraging and uplifting. Choose a devotional to complement your intentions for the Advent season or one that brings new insights or deeper meaning to your preparations for the celebration of Christmas.
- Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas
- Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season
- Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent
- Clear A Path For The Season Of Advent
- Meeting Christ at Broadway & Bethlehem: Day by Day Through Advent
- Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany
- Praying Advent, Three Minute Reflections on Peace, Faithfulness, Joy, and Light
- Welcome the Light: Daily Devotions for Advent
- Silence – And Other Surprising Invitations of Advent
- 31 Days of December Peace: Reflections for Peace and Rest During the Stressful Holiday Season
Star of Wonder, Radiant Goodness,
today I turn to you as the Source of Love.
I remember your Light dwelling within me.
Keep me mindful of your transforming presence.
Shine this goodness and love on each person
with whom I come in contact this day.
Draw me to your irresistible love.
I open my whole being to you.
I send your love forth into our world.
May all those who suffer find solace in your love.
May all of creation be at peace.
— Joyce Rupp
Advent Quotes, Prayers & Meditations:
- Less is More (Advent Meditation)
- Seek Patience (Advent Meditation)
- Make Some Desert (Advent Meditation)
- Psalm of an Emerging Emmanuel (Advent Prayer)
- Prayer for Joy (Advent Prayer)
- Unbind Me (Advent Prayer)
- Rest: The Conversation Between What We Love To Do And How We Love To Be
- A Good Day (Gratitude & Joy)