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Ideas and Tips for Advent, Christmas Worship Planning

advent wreath candles

Knowing that many of our visitors are in the midst of Advent and Christmas season worship planning, we searched our affiliate group sites for great resources and articles to help stimulate creative thinking and generate fresh Advent and Christmas worship ideas.

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Advent and Christmas Resource Guide The Calvin Institute offers an expanded list of excellent planning resources, including music, videos and sermon help, from the Calvin site and its worship partners.

Planning for Advent and the Christian Year in Worship Suggestions and advice for planning Advent worship and looking ahead to the entire Christian Year, by Howard Vanderwell.

Ancient Christmas Sermons: Making the Old, Old Story New Again  "Reading ancient Christmas sermons and carols can yield remarkably relevant insights into how the Christmas message connects with our own lives." It can also provide preachers and teachers with new perspectives from which to proclaim the Gospel.

Introducing Advent  In our rush to get to Christmas, we are tempted to downplay or ignore the Advent themes that the Church has long believed are necessary preparation for arriving at the cradle in the right spirit.

Christmas Resources


The Text This Week (TextWeek)

This site has extensive, excellent resources for Advent and Christmas worship services.

Resources for the Season of Advent and Resources for the Christmas Season include Scripture lessons, study links and resources for:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day


The African American Lectionary

The African American Lectionary provides lectionary commentary, cultural resources, and music and worship resources for key moments in the Church Year as marked by and celebrated in many African American churches. Although the material is from previous years, it is still relevant.

Thanksgiving Day

First Sunday of Advent & World AIDS Day






Second Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent



Watch Night


Faith & Leadership

Faith & Leadership has a range of articles, sermons and reflections that can stimulate creative thinking and new perspectives on Advent and Christmas:

Moving From Darkness To Light  Jan Richardson, an artist, writer and minister, explains in this intriguing Q&A how she uses her art to encourage contemplation during the Advent season.

Samuel Wells: Never Mind the Width In Advent, dare to feel the depth. Never mind the width. If you're tired of waiting, go deeper, says the noted preacher.

Resources for Advent and Christmas  Begin your preparations for Advent and Christmas with resources from Faith & Leadership. These sermons, essays and stories invite you into the wonder, challenge and messiness of first a season of waiting and then a season of light and joy.

Is it 'The Holidays' or Advent? Christians can reclaim Advent with several small practices that create space in the midst of the busy “holiday season” to re-focus on Christ.

Why Advent is the Hardest of Times for Faithful Christians  "To put on the joy of the Christmas season, first there are things we have to take off."

Spiritual Practices to Help During Advent "The tyranny of responsibility and routine can rob me of wonder, joy and gladness at the very time when my heart should be full. What am I to do? What spiritual practices might help me be attentive during Advent and Christmas?"

Other Advent Resources  and Additional Christmas Resources

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Festival of Lessons and Carols  The contemporary service of Lessons and Carols has its origin in ancient Christian vigils, but its current format was first held in the aftermath of World War I, at King's College in Cambridge, England, as a special way to remember those who did not return home. This video news story explores the history and content of the Festival.

The Poetry of Christmas  Christmas poetry is nearly as old as the Church, pre-dating hymns. This article provides examples across history of profound Christian poetry, and traces the development of the Christmas poem from highly sacred to secular.

Saint Nicholas Tradition  St. Nicholas was an actual person, a Christian and a bishop who was known for his generosity. This video news story examines the man and the myth whose life story, like the secularized Santa Claus his deeds spawned, points to the manger.

Blue Christmas  For many, the Advent and Christmas season is a reminder of the loss of someone dear. This video news story chronicles a special service that provides space for mourners to acknowledge their pain in a community of mourners for whom Christmas always has in it a touch of deep sorrow.


on Being with Krista Tippett

Advent Stories the program has done


Religion Newswriters - ReligionLink - Religion News Service

ReligionLink provides resources to help religion news writers prepare quality articles on a range of themes related to religion and faith practices. Many of the site's extensive resource collections can provide perspective, support, and insight for faith community leaders, preachers and teachers.

Eighteen Story Ideas for the Holidays  From Hanukkah to hajj, from “green” gifts to school celebrations, ReligionLink offers story ideas for the holidays ahead that offer insight into the range of religious celebrations that take place during December.

The Growing Appeal of the Mother of Jesus


Practicing Our Faith

Hospitality - Ways to Practice - Ideas  During Advent, children and adults of the Mission District of San Francisco re-enact the story of Joseph and Mary seeking lodging by going house to house down the street. On the ninth night, a homeowner, acting the part of "innkeeper," offers the couple the use of his stable, and the entire community rejoices.

We hope you find these links helpful. Have a joyful and blessed Advent and Christmas!




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