It is with a large dollop of trepidation that I offer today’s post.
Trepidation on two counts.
One is the inevitable fact that in trying to combine as many online Advent resources as possible, I am going to forget something, somewhere. If and when you notice a gap – please feel free to comment! This is not an ‘authorised’ list, so please take this as the invitation to include your additions.
The second reason is that I could not really let the opportunity pass to offer some nativity focussed resources too. For the theologically astute, I know that Advent is not about Christmas (Advent is to Christmas as kneading is to a sandwich), but how could I not include the award winning Natwivity, the puppets of Bethlehemian Rhapsody, and the sheer tat that is on show in the 27 worst nativity sets…
The following post includes a huge number of links, and very little commentary. Please find something interesting, new or challenging and click away. Find something that intrigues you or stimulates your reflective practice this advent season, and tell people about it!
I have deliberately left the links un-hyperlinked, so that you can copy and paste URLs for use in church magazines etc… sorry for the style aficionados who find this a difficult method to look at. On this occasion, I beg your forgiveness.
What I am really excited about is that there is so much creativity online for advent. So many people are taking the opportunity to develop something to help people engage both online and offline, to use Advent (or more cynically, December), to reflect on the meaning of life and spirituality.
Traces of Advent http://www.tracesofadvent.com/ - AR data posters from @phoce and team
Advent Calendar Conspiracy https://www.facebook.com/AdventCalendarConspiracy - short provocative videos from @changingworship and team
Advent 24/7 spaces http://uk.24-7prayer.com/stories/advent-2012-24-7-spaces/ - Vodcasts from the wonderful people at 24/7 prayer
Take a minute – http://www.darlingtonmethodistdistrict.org.uk/take-minute-advent-2011-resource – downloadable resources for churches and small groups
Vision 4 life – http://www.vision4life.org.uk/index.php/bible-year/seasonal-selection/advent-resources/ - list of resources from Vision4Life
Advent Prayer Guide EA – http://www.eauk.org/resources/advent-prayer.cfm - Running the Race themed prayer diary for Advent from Evangelical Alliance
Once again the North and South Beach Huts are back:
Bridlington Advent Beach Huts – http://bridbeachhuts.blogspot.com/
Brighton Advent Calendar – http://www.beyondchurch.co.uk/
Fresh Expressions Advent – http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/advent - Reflections from the Fresh Expressions Team
Christine Sine Advent Reflections – http://godspace.wordpress.com/ - beautiful poetry and prayers compiled (and at times composed) by Christine Sine
Proost is worth a look at any time of year, but for Advent, check out the Proost Advent Calendar http://www.proost.co.uk/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=387&category_id=2&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=26&vmcchk=1&Itemid=53
Cheryl Lawrie offers poignant reflections throughout the year through her blog, Hold This Space. Advent posts currently include: http://holdthisspace.org.au/when-advent-isnt-about-waiting/ http://holdthisspace.org.au/the-pregnant-pause/
Jesse Tree https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesse-Tree/239406092775808 – we’ll be posting readings, comments and symbols you can download for your own Christmas tree. – see also http://www.i-church.org/jessetree/
Loads of stuff from Canada (thanks to Tweeps for pointing this link out) – http://www.worship.ca/christmas.html
Advent doodles – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/ - Advent in doodles.
Following the star – http://www.d365.org/followingthestar/ - online guided reflection.
Advent Conspiracy (Christmas can still change the world) – http://www.adventconspiracy.org/default.aspx?page=3684
Rethinking Christmas – http://www.rethinkingchristmas.com/
Some incredibly creative and provocative contextual stuff from the North East in ‘Christmas Present’- http://robs-random-ramblings.blogspot.com/
Starting today, the Alternative Advent Calendar begins – http://www.cybersten.co.uk/www.cybersten.co.uk/Advent.html
Pam Webster has some beautiful reflections – http://pamsperambulation.wordpress.com/
Bryony Taylor is creating a new set of Bryony’s Advent-ures: http://adventurecalendar.posterous.com/ (and developing @onlinecarols)
Sanctus1 are developing Advent Shrines around Manchester – find out more at http://www.adventshrines.blogspot.com/
Nativity based resources
http://natwivity.com/ – The award winning Natwivity is back! This time, with the invitation to don our dressing gowns and tea towels and Dress Up December!
http://www.rollonchristmas.com/ – If your dressing gown has gone AWOL, then check out Ship of Fools’ Christmas treat – a Facebook integrated retelling (ish) of the Christmas story. Narrated by Milton Jones, it is perhaps not suitable for younger children.
I promised you the 27 worst nativity sets. Trust me, it is worth it… http://whyismarko.com/2011/27-worst-nativity-sets-the-annual-growing-list/
http://lancashiresingschristmas.co.uk/ – Lancashire Sings Christmas – pick up a radio / sign up online and join in!
Digital Nativity – the story of the nativity through social media… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHNNPM7pJA&feature=share
The Baptist Union continues their campaign to help people Get in the Picture – http://www.getinthepicture.org.uk/welcome.htm
Puppets star in the watch-it-to-believe-it Bethlehemian rhapsody – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW1pbuyGlQ0
Nativity Factor – If you want to win £5000, enter ITN’s competition to retell the Christmas story - http://www.thenativityfactor.com where you can also watch other entries.
Suitable for all ages, the beatboxing vicar offers a beatbox nativity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIt3WmI8tSk
The Church Sofa offers @SofaChristmas ‘What if the stars of the original nativity used their photo cameras, to document everything they saw and felt?’ – see also http://christmasphotoblog.tumblr.com/post/13458229720/it-starts
Just in case this was a little Christian, the New Humanist magazine demonstrates how Richard Branson does the Nativoty (spelling crucial…think about the Tivo box….got it? Thought so…) http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2011/11/virgin-birth-branson-does-nativity.html
Finally, provocative photography from Ben Bell – Fast Food Christmas http://www.flickr.com/photos/benbell/6379469955/
So – that’s my compilation. What have you found inspiring? What have I missed? And what are we going to do together next year?