The season of Advent isn’t just for Catholics and Orthodox Christians anymore. Over the past decade more mainline Protestants have begun to use the first weeks of the new Church year as a time of solemn preparation for the birth of Jesus.
If you are looking for resources to help you prepare for His birth, here are links with a few ideas. Although I have categorised them by denomination, I enjoyed reading through them all and think that you will, too:
Non-denominational – updated 2016 – The Adventures of Mary and Joseph: Paperless Christmas from the UK presents the Advent and Christmas story as a road trip. It comprises several different videos told in chronological order. Children, teens and parents will love these short vignettes — a must-see.
Anglican – Advent Resources: It’s hard to find more resources in one place than this. Advent calendars, family activities, devotions — you name it. Catholics can check here, too — some come from Catholic parishes and universities.
Catholic – Advent Activities and Customs: This page has links which explain all the aspects of Advent from the wreath and the Jesse Tree to the O Antiphons. It also includes advice on preparing the manger, if you are making your own creche. Brilliant for families.
Lutheran (LCMS) – updated 2012 – Resources for Advent and Christmas: This page explains the importance of Advent and offers helpful suggestions to prepare for Jesus’s birth. It recommends learning Advent hymns as a family before singing them on Sunday and explains the importance of preparing a manger at home (see ‘Catholic’ for details on how to do this). The top of the page has nine other LCMS links to help make Advent a meaningful time in the Christian home.
Reformed – updated 2016 – Calvin Theological Seminary Advent 2009 Resources: Although these are geared more towards seminarians and clergymen, laypeople can also benefit from reading about the themes that run through the Sunday readings at this time. These will be common through the principal Christian denominations — Lectionary Year C. The page also provides sermons to read for each Sunday, which are helpful in channeling one’s Advent prayer and meditation for the week ahead. Update – 2016: Also see the sermons on Reformed Worship. Look for the relevant Advent/Christmas issues by date, e.g. Norman D Stolpe’s Seven Themes for Advent and Christmas, 1991.
Advent: preparation is everything. Make this one special for you and your family.