Christmas and Advent 2020 - Resources and Good Ideas

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Over the last week we've hosted a few conversations in our Facebook Group all about advent and Christmas, looking at how we might engage with it this year when things will be so different for many of us. Highlights of the suggestions that were made are below.

Christmas 

Christmas and Advent 2020 - Resources and Good Ideas

Whilst meeting in person may or may not happen in church buildings this year, Christmas is very much still happening in our churches, even if it is on the phone or on Zoom.

Below are some of our favourite suggestions for making Christmas and advent in 2020 a time of hope and positivity. We are aware that for many this year, Christmas will be a really challenging and difficult time, so as well as trying some of these good ideas, we do encourage you to make sure that you get the support and encouragement that you need this Christmas, as well as watching out for those around you.

Do get in touch with your local church if you'd like somebody to talk to or to listen, use our Church Search here to find your nearest church community.

Ideas for personally engaging with advent and Christmas

Advent is the time when Christians prepare themselves for Christmas, the word means 'coming', and is about the preparing oneself for the celebration of Christmas.

There are many good ways to engage with advent this year. Two that we're really recommend are, firstly, the national Methodist Church's resources, the God is with Us series, which will share stories of hope, one a day all the way through advent, and secondly, a series of videos being produced by our District aound the lighting of advent candles, which you will be able to find under Resources on the District Website.

In addition to these, here are some other good ideas which have been shared our chat conversations.

  • Prayer Walks - Why not take some time this advent to take a prayer walk in your area. To reflect on advent, to reflect on your community, to pray for people in this challenging and difficult time.
  • Unorthodox Walks - Inclusive Gathering Birmingham are hosting a group where people are encouraged to head out for a walk, seperately, but at the same time, and to take photos about particular things which they share together. Click here to find the group.
  • Red Letter Christians - There are several ways that you can engage with Red Letter Christians this advent, including their Daily Advent Reflections about The Dangerous Journey and the Refugee God, and also their Debt Jubilee Campaign.
  • Inclusive Gathering Birmingham - IGN are hosting regular craft activtities on zoom throughout advent to engage families with the Christmas story. Find more on their Facebook Page here.
  • Get in touch with your local church - Many local churches will be running online advent groups on zoom through advent, why contact your local church using our church search to see what is happening?
  • Jazz Church Carols and Christingle - Jazz Church Christmas events are always a real highlight of the year, why not join in with their Carol or Christingle Services which will be happening online this year? Click here to find their Facebook Page with details.
  • Do a craft at home - Making advent calendars can be a great way to engage with advent, perhaps with pictures behind the doors and things to open up. Baker Ross sell advent colours which you can colour in.
  • Read a book - Advent is a great time to reflect and pause, one way to do this is with reflections and readings. There are many options here, but one recommended by Reverend Ping Ting Chen is Tom Wright's series, Advent for Everyone. Find them on Amazon here but do buy them from your prefered and usual retailer and support local Christian book shops if you have one.

Sharing Christmas hope with your neighbours

Another great way to encourage hope and positivity, both for yourself and others, is to find ways to celebrate or share Christmas with your neighbours. Here are a few good ideas.

  • Window Decorations or Lights - Why not put up decorations or lights in your windows to bring a bit of joy to those around you? One suggestion is to put a up a star in your window as a sign of hope to your communities and perhaps encouraging others to do the same.
  • Doorstep Carols - On the 20th December at 6pm, Premier Christian Radio is going to be broadcasting a carol service for people to listen to on the radio, their suggestion is that someone plays it from a radio outside and that neighbours come out onto doorsteps and join in together.

Please remember to be safe and to follow government guidelines when sharing Christmas with your neighbours and those around you.

Ideas for Churches to use in their communities

Here are a few ideas and suggestions that might inspire churches to engage with advent and Christmas.

  • Window Displays - Why not put some kind of dsplay, silhoutte or artwork in your windows to engage people with the Christmas story. Dorridge Methodist Church are having a big advent calendar in their window with a different thing in a newly opened box each day, which the pre-school children are opening up each morning. You might also put up a Christmas is not cancelled sign, Reverend Deborah Humphries has one made up if you are interested.
  • Children's Activities - Putting on activities for children can be a great way to help families feel a more community wide sense of Christmas. A few ideas shared in our group include a) an advent mailing - sending our printable wreaths etc to people for them to put up, b) running craft activities on zoom or facebook, c) running an online all age service. The Chinese Church are doing an all age service at the start of advent. They are going to be asking those who join to go for a walk on each day of advent, to pick up one thing they find on their walk and to save them all up in one place. They are then going encourage people to bring them together and to make a collage of the things which have been gathered. They hope to create space for engagement, reflection and prayer for families, and have some great photos to share on Christmas day.
  • Online Socials - With so many people feeling isolated this year, why not run online social conversations. Perhaps a Christmas morning zoom cuppa? Perhaps a Christmas party online?
  • Advent Liturgy - Our Red Mission and Ministry team has written an advent liturgy for each week of advent, focussed on things within their team. E.g. There will be a week on Methodist Homes for the Aged, focussed on the people of God, that we are one wherever we are. Each week there is a passage and a collect that will be used in each church, whether in a socially distanced service or online.
  • Advent Quotes on Social Media - One idea suggested was to put advent quotes each day on Social Media, perhaps a church could email 24 people from their congreagations, ask them for an inspiring quote about advent, then put one of them up each day?
  • Daily Reflections - Another good suggestion was to give people a new word each day to reflect on, and then to share photographs that have been taken on the theme, or to talk about it, perhaps photos could even be collected together into a montage that can be shared at Christmas?

Please remember to follow your church's COVID Risk Assessment for anything that you decide to do.

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who contributed their good ideas in our conversations. If you have any good ideas to add, why not email them into us at news@birminghammethodistcircuit.org.uk

Christmas and Advent 2020 - Resources and Good Ideas