Spiritual Practice

Stuff to Do for Advent 2019

Anne Crumpler

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, are days of waiting: waiting for the coming of Christ, newborn in a stable, and waiting for God’s coming kingdom, God’s new world of hope, love, joy, and peace. Christ has already come, but we’re still waiting for God’s kingdom. Waiting doesn’t have to mean twiddling our thumbs. It can be a way to prepare for Christmas—to still our hearts for the coming of Christ and to live our lives for the coming of God’s new world.



Collect five candles of different shapes and sizes. Light one of the candles. Spend a few minutes in silence. Ask God to help you wait expectantly.

2  Pray: “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Consider what this means for your life and for the world.

3  Read Isaiah 9:2–7. What is the darkness in our lives? In what ways is Christ the light?

4  Gather supplies to make God’s Eyes. Buy popsicle sticks and yarn in dark and light colors.

5  Give a family hope for the future. Buy a flock of chickens from Heifer Project International.

6 Sing or pray the words of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

7  Create flower pots for planting. Find pictures of hope; adhere them to clay pots using Mod Podge.


8  Light two candles. Listen to “Love Came Down at Christmas.”

9  Fill your clay pots with soil. Plant Paperwhite bulbs.

10  Reflect on the painting “The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico. (Find it in a library or online.) What is happening in the picture? What does the way the figures are posed say about their personalities or their emotional states? If you were Mary, how would you respond to the angel’s news?

11  Read Luke 1:46–55. Mary rejoiced because God had chosen her to bear the Messiah, who would change the world. What were some changes that Mary expected?

God's eye212  Make God’s Eyes. Cross two popsicle sticks, and crisscross yarn several times around the center. Then tie on another color of yarn. Wind it around one stick, over then under; pull it to the next stick in the circle, and wrap it over then under the second stick. Keep wrapping around each stick, pulling the yarn tight. When you are ready, add a new color and repeat. When the yarn nears the end of the sticks, knot the yarn. Add a loop to hang the God’s Eye.

13  Take pictures of God’s love at work in the world. Share them on Instagram or as Creative Work on

14  Pray Mary’s prayer (Luke 1:38, NRSV): “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”


15  Light three candles. Read Luke 2:1–7. In your town, where would Mary and Joseph have stayed?

16  Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter.

17  Take a walk. Sing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” or “Joy to the World.”

18  Make more God’s Eyes. Use them to practice intercessory prayer: As you wrap each stick, name a person or a situation, asking God to bring healing and joy to broken lives.

19  Check the Paperwhites. Are they starting to sprout? What is beginning to come to life in you?

20  Look up joy in a thesaurus. Imagine a world filled with joy.

21  Call friends. Wish them a joyful Advent.

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22  Light four candles. Sing “Silent Night.” Hang God’s Eyes on the Christmas tree or give them as gifts. Celebrate that God is with us and watches over us.

23  Give pots of Paperwhites to your neighbors.

24  Read Luke 2:8–20. How do the angels describe the Messiah? What is their promise for God’s kingdom?

25  Gather family and friends. Light all five candles. Tell the Christmas story, with each person in turn adding a sentence. Pray: “Thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus Christ. Still our hearts and calm the nations to receive your kingdom’s peace. Amen.”


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Beginning December 1st, the first Sunday of Advent, let these practices prepare your heart as you wait for Christ’s coming—and for the wait that continues even after Christmas. Jesus Christ was born. But God’s promise of a new world hasn’t come yet. It’s a someday promise. Someday, God will dwell with God’s people; and the whole earth will be transformed in hope, love, joy, and peace. How do we wait? Anticipating love, we love our neighbors. Looking forward to a world at peace, we get involved in peacemaking in neighborhoods and schools. Expecting the sheer joy of God’s presence, we sing from door to door, “Joy to the world; the Lord has come!” How can you anticipate God’s coming kingdom?

—from devozine (November/December 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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