RESOURCES FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY DURING CHRISTMAS AND ADVENT
from your Library Workers
The first things that come to mind are an Advent Calendar and an Advent Wreath. The wreath can be plain or fancy. There are many for sale at Parable, or you can simply put four candles in holders and light a new one each Sunday of Advent. Although purple is the traditional color, don’t worry too much about the color of the candles. The symbol of light alone is enough for me in the dark, long nights of December, but prayers, songs, and devotionals can add to the experience. Religious based Advent Calendars are hard to find (much less those that don’t equate Advent with candy), but they are out there. Again, try Parable. The d365 website has one on-line called Follow the Star, and the magazine Presbyterians Today has one that you can access on the PC(USA) website.
If you want to do some reading during Advent, two books I would recommend are Kneeling in Bethlehemby Ann Weems and The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Birth by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. The Weems book is a collection of accessible poems she has written about the Jesus’s birth, and the Borg/Crossan book is a study of the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke pointing out how they each summarize the message of the gospel as a whole. On-line resources can be found at TheThoughfulChristian.com and at the patheos website. At this website, be sure to include only those articles under the Faith Channel “Progressive Christian”, some of the other sections can stray far afield from Presbyterian beliefs. In addition, there are lots of books in PCM’s library to help with your celebration. We have devotionals to use during Advent. There are craft books that can inspire you to decorate your home for the season. There is a marvelous series about how Christmas is traditionally celebrated in other countries.
A great exercise for Advent and Christmas is to categorize exactly which Christmas you’re celebrating each time you open a Christmas card or watch a holiday special. Christmas in our time has morphed into four different celebrations. Foremost is the religious holy day where we remember the Incarnation. However, three others vie for our attention. There is the holiday that’s more like a Winter Carnival Celebration. The winter solstice is marked with snow covered scenes on Christmas cards and songs like “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”. Another aspect is the Families Are Great Celebration with family gatherings and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. The third is the Christmas Spirit Celebration where we find ways to be generous with gifts and money and The Christmas Caroland Scrooge remind us that “mankind is our business”. These are all great things to celebrate, but it’s a good thing to be intentional about exactly what we’re celebrating and remember the “Reason for the Season”.