David Ash
Advent 2020

In recent years we've written a large number of advent articles to help us focus in on preparations for Christmas. This time of year is usually so busy yet for some this year like no other will be more stressful and more uncertain than many a year before.

There is a lot of uncertainty this year, so much upheaval and change, Christmas time is meant to be one of peace and good will, which we often think of in very physical terms, sharing presents, eating together with extended family or friends and yet whilst this isn't the case for many normally, this year it seems that it will be more difficult for everyone to celebrate in the way that they usually do.

This year we're looking at the idea of waiting and have created three short films which will premier on our YouTube channel and will also be posted in our advent tag on our news feed.

Some of the themes of the Christmas message seem even more relevant. This uncertainty is something that Mary & Joseph would have been very aware of as they approached the birth of their first born. Think about it, the upheaval of a census, a long (90 mile+) journey, not in a car, but on hilly dusty paths, heavily pregnant, riding on a donkey. This would have taken days of travel at the time, we're talking two or three days!

Arriving in Bethlehem to find it crowded and there was no where safe to stay, even for a pregnant woman. They ended up sheltering with animals to keep safe and warm. None of this would have been easy, safe or fun!

So despite the strange year we are having, as we approach this Christmas season there are still so many parallels for us, despite all this uncertainty there are still things we can learn from the characters who find themselves at the centre of the message of Christmas.

The Story Book Bible
We’ve recommended numerous resources over the years to help you do this and one of our favourite ways is through the Jesus Storybook Bible. This is an excellent resource for anyone who has been a child (i.e. everyone). It helps us see how the Bible sometimes ‘whispers’ but often shouts the name of Jesus right through its whole narrative.

This year the author Sally Lloyd Jones has released a new Advent resource which you can print out and use as a family.

From the intro to the JSB Advent Guide:

“What do you love most about Christmas? Most of us might say, PRESENTS! And probably all the grown-ups will laugh and want us to say something more worthy. But actually do you know what? You’re right. That IS the best, most important thing about Christmas. Because, you see, Christmas is all about a present—a gift. The greatest, most magnificent gift there has ever been…”

The Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Guide includes:

  • An Introduction and Letter to Parents from Sally Lloyd-Jones
  • New Christmas colouring pages from Jago
  • A reading plan for each day of December leading up to Christmas
  • Printable ornaments for an interactive Advent experience
  • An Advent Spotify Playlist
  • And even more surprises.

You can download the guide here: 

Sally Lloyd Jones has also written a list of some of her favourite Christmas picture books you can find here: 

Other advent resources for Adults & Children

Our previous advent posts have lots of resources for adults and for families which you can use to help you plan and prepare for Christmas throughout advent check them out here: 

Advent Resources #1:
Advent Resources #2: 

Advent Contemplation Posts By Megan
#1: Are we overlooking advent? 
#2: What's the Significance? 
#3: Waiting Expectantly 

We hope they are thought provoking and give you some ideas about what you could do to prepare for the Christmas season.

Other Books We'd Recommend

1. The Sleepy Shepherd - By Stephen Cottrell - Archbishop of York
This beautifully illustrated book looks at the story of salvation from the point of view of a shepherd who managed to miss the angels greeting but ultimately serves as a shepherd to this new born king.