Advent 2015: Resources for giving and getting ready

Advent is the four-week season of anticipation and preparation for Christ’s birth.  Beginning on Sunday, Nov. 29, Christians around the world are preparing the way with prayer, meditation, service and worship.  Here are resources for giving and getting ready in this holy season.

  • The brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist are again offering a digital Advent calendar. Beginning Nov. 29, a new window opens each day, revealing a special word, meditation and image.  Anyone can contribute images using the social media hashtag #AdventWord.  The calendar can be followed via e-mail, Pinterest and Instagram.  Visit the Advent Calendar page to follow the devotions.
  • The Rev. Thomas Mousin, Rector of St. John's Church in Charlestown, and Merry Watters, pastor of the Church of the Convenant United Methodist Church in Averill Park, N.Y., have been creating and sharing their hand-drawn Advent calendar for more than 20 years. Their calendars feature a Scripture verse and a suggested devotion. The 2015 calendar is now online here. It is free and can be printed and reproduced.
  • Youth and adults who work with youth can find a series of daily devotions with an Advent theme on  Subscribe to receive a daily reminder, or download the mobile app; d365 Daily Devotions by Passport, Inc.  This service is a collaborative initiative of the youth ministries offices of the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
  • Episcopal Relief and Development is once again providing opportunities for meaningful, socially conscious gifts through the Gifts for Life catalog. Gifts provide livestock, clean water, health care microcredit loans, vocational training and much more in the world’s neediest regions. Givers can browse the catalog and select a gift that resonates with them or someone they love—they’ll receive a card, to keep or give, that details how their gift will be used.
  • The Board of the United Thank Offering has presented a challenge to the Episcopal Church to benefit Episcopal Migration Ministries. Called Advent: Journey from Gratitude to Hope, the challenge calls on Episcopalians to support refugee welcome in the United States.  United Thank Offering will match the first $30,000 given by Dec. 31.  Checks or online donations should have "UTO-EMM" in the memo line/comments section. Donations are also accepted online here - select "UTO for EMM Challenge" from the drop-down menu and then put "Episcopal Migration Ministries" in the comments.
Additional Advent resources are welcome in the comments section.