In recent years a new business opportunity has emerged: increasingly extravagant Advent Calendars. From whisky to cheese, jewellery to beard-grooming-accessories, everything imaginable can be found in 24 little (or not so little) cardboard windows to help you with the waiting for Christmas. Forgive me for being purist about these things. I’m not going to tell you that it should be pictures of shepherds and angels alone. I’m not even going to tell you that it’s tiny moulded chocolates or nothing. What I am advocating is a reclaiming of Advent – at it’s heart Advent is a journey… more of an Advent-ure if you will.

Just as you wouldn’t expect to wake up one morning in April and meaningfully engage with running the London marathon, one can’t expect to wake up on December 25th and meaningfully engage with the reality of Christmas. And so the Church brings in 4 weeks of training. To look at it another way, if you have guests staying over Christmas you have probably started to think about making preparations for that… even hopelessly untidy people like me have been known to pull out the hoover when they know they have guests coming for Christmas. Advent is an opportunity to give our lives the once over as we prepare to celebrate the arrival of baby Jesus 2000 years ago and the return of Christ to be with us forever at the end of time.

I’d like to invite you to come on an Advent-ure with me. Every day of advent let’s think of practices that will bring you and your family to act a little more like Jesus. You might want to start a reverse advent calendar – putting one item in an empty box each day to donate to a food bank. You might want to take some time each day to remember that God is with you, fully sharing your human experience. You might want to read a passage from the Bible each day prophesying about then telling the story of the birth of Jesus – I’ve included suggested readings below. You might want to teach yourself how to be still and silent and set an alarm for 10 minutes of silence and stillness before God each day.

Whatever you do… come on this year’s Advent-ure with me… “Come let us go to Bethlehem to see the thing that the Lord has told us about.”

Revd Sally Hitchiner

1. Isaiah 40:1-5 Comfort
2. Isaiah 52:7-10 The Good News
3. Isaiah 40:9-11 A Shepherd is Coming
4. Genesis 3:8-15 The Broken Relationship
5. Genesis 15:1-6 God chooses a person
6. Deuteronomy 18:15-19 God will raise up a prophet
7. Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot producing peace
8. Micah 5:2-3 Oh Little town of Bethlehem
9. Malachi 3:1-6 The refiner’s fire
10. John: 1:1-8 He was in the beginning
11. John 1:9-18 True Light
12. Mark 1:1-3 The messenger part 1
13. Luke 1:5-25 The messenger part 2
14. Luke 1:26-35 Angel Gabriel
15. Luke 1:39-45 Mary goes to Elizabeth
16. Luke 1:46-56 Magnificat
17. Luke 1:57-80 The messenger part 4
18. Isaiah 9:2-7 Great Light
19. Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph worries
20. Luke 2:1-7 Jesus is born
21. Luke 2:8-21 Shepherds
22. Matthew 2:1-12 The Kings
23. Luke 2:21-35 – Nunc Dimittis
24. Matthew 2:13-21 Jesus the refugee
25. Revelation 21:1-6 Promise of New Birth for all creation