Advent calendars may have changed over the years but the excitement of counting down the days till Christmas hasn’t, and it’s not just for children. Now there are even more creative ways of marking time during this season of preparation. This Advent, the small, country parish of Sevenoaks Weald is planning a simple, yet inventive way of drawing the community into this time of waiting and watching for the coming of the Light of the World.
Rachel and Matt Yates are heading up a project to create a living Advent Calendar in their community. Volunteers will be recruited from twenty four households, businesses or community buildings and each will illuminate a window with festive decorations. Each window will be ‘opened’ or ‘unveiled’ each day at 6.30pm from 1st December to 24th December and stay illuminated until Twelfth Night (5th January).
There is plenty of scope to be creative in the design and there are lots of ideas on the internet; it isn’t about being competitive. The only rule is that it must be centred around a window that is easily visible to the public and it must be illuminated.
There are opportunities to make this project as big or as small as people want it to be. On their allocated day, those preparing a window may wish just to switch on their lights and reveal the window to those passing by. Alternatively, it may present an opportunity to invite friends and neighbours in or to hand out some mulled wine and mince pies to those arriving for the ‘big reveal’. Perhaps even singing a few Advent carols together will help underline the reason for the season.
This idea could be adapted to different communities and help all-ages to come together to celebrate the promise of the Incarnation. Not only could it be a lot of fun designing and creating each window together but the project is bound to gather momentum. It won’t be long before children, and those young at heart, will be eagerly following the trail around the community, excitedly waiting for the next window to be revealed.
It may take a different form in each community but there will still be opportunities to work with local schools and pre-schools and to draw in local businesses. What it will need however is some central organisation in terms of making sure there are enough volunteers and they know the date their window will be revealed.
It’s such a simple yet wonderful concept and, with some imagination, it presents plenty of possibilities for sharing the love of Christ with our communities.
Why not see if it will work in yours?