Advent begins on Sunday, December 1st. The Media Center offers group studies, personal inspiration, worship resources, program ideas, and videos for all ages throughout the Christmas season. The NC Conference also offers its own Advent litanies this year.
What Child Is This?
Bishop Ward encourages use of the What Child Is This? Advent resource produced by the NC Conference. This document includes focus scriptures, litanies, calls to action, and songs for each Sunday in Advent. The focus of this resource is “God’s wonderful gift of children” including Palestinian children, children at the US-Mexico Border, children impacted by hurricanes in Eastern NC, and children with special needs. This free download can be used in your worship services, your small groups, or your homes.
Advent Studies Comparison Chart
Cokesbury offers an Advent Studies Comparison Chart that provides details of the major DVD and book studies published in recent years. This side-by-side comparison may help you to choose your study based on length, components, and descriptions.
Advent Studies for Adults
We highlighted the newest Advent DVD studies in a previous post, but there are many other great options that have been published in recent years. Home for Christmas led by the NC Conference’s own Rev. Justin Coleman features tales of hope and second chances found through Homeboy Industries. Other United Methodist pastors such as Adam Hamilton, Mike Slaughter, James W. Moore, and Matt Rawle have excellent offerings that provide a diverse selection of viewpoints on the Advent season and Christmas experience. These titles and more are listed in our Advent and Christmas DVDs for Adults pathfinder.
Some groups or individuals may prefer not to use a DVD. The Living Nativity study that journeys with St. Francis towards Christmas was a popular choice last year. Many other book studies are listed in the Advent and Christmas Books for Adults pathfinder.
Christmas Movie Nights
Get a group together to learn more about the Christmas season through viewing a documentary or movie. Learn about the history of St. Nicholas, nativity scenes, the star of Bethlehem, the Christmas holiday, or just enjoy some laughs with Christmas-themed comedy. These and other videos are listed at the bottom of the Advent and Christmas DVDs for Adults pathfinder.
Raleigh pastor John Pavlovitz has a new devotional book, Low: An Honest Advent Devotional, that invites us to a season of humility. Enuma Okoro and Paula C. Hawkins offer devotionals that encourage stillness during Advent. These titles and others are listed in the Advent and Christmas Books for Adults pathfinder.
Try something different with a video devotional. Advent Calendar on DVD offers 25 mini-documentaries (3-4 minutes each) that reveal the stories behind many Advent traditions. A second DVD in this series focuses on Christmas carols.
New Traditions and Activities
Whether at your church or in your home, consider adopting new Christmas traditions this year. These books offer many ideas from complete worship services to art projects to fun for the whole family. These titles and more are listed on the Advent and Christmas Books for Adults pathfinder.
Not everyone is having a merry Christmas. Blue Christmas is a devotional book for those who are living through a season of darkness during the Christmas holiday. Merry Christmas? is a 30-minute DVD that tells the stories of three people who have really struggled with the Christmas holiday, but grace has enabled them to get through it all.
Advent for Youth
In the Fathom series of youth bible studies, the NC Conference’s own Rev. Charlie Baber wrote the study on the coming of Jesus. Many of the adult DVD studies have versions for youth. We also have some program idea books and an activity book for preteens. All of these and more are listed in the Advent and Christmas Resources for Youth pathfinder.
Advent for Children
Many of the adult DVD studies also offer a children’s version. There are also some fun DVD studies for children on what it means to celebrate Christmas and Advent. We have lots of animated videos for children that tell fables related to the Christmas story or explain the Christmas story itself. All of these titles are listed in the Advent and Christmas Resources for Children pathfinder.
Host a Christmas-themed storytime for children in your community. You could even make it bilingual! We have many beautiful picture books related to the Christmas season. Several of these books have the words in Spanish and English on the same page. View all of these titles in the Advent and Christmas Resources for Children pathfinder.
Children’s Dramas and Activities
These books offer reproducible dramas, speeches, and easy recitations for children to get involved in performing for the Christmas celebration. Christmas Extras offers even more ideas including snacks, crafts and devotional activities. Find these books and more program ideas in the Advent and Christmas Resources for Children pathfinder.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist church in the North Carolina Conference. We can even mail them to you! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.