Advent/Christmas Calendar

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Advent/Christmas/Epiphany Calendar

Which Way to Bethlehem?

A Calendar Through Advent and Christmas

Christmas can be a confusing time. Bright lights, crowded malls, parties and plays, ads for this and for that--there is much that demands our attention.

In the midst of all the busyness, it is difficult to know which way to turn. We want to experience the joy and peace of the season, and yet we often don't know where to begin.

With daily thoughts and suggestions for action, this calendar offers a way to find those quiet moments and share the joy we feel. It also provides a way to collect money to offer to those in need. By using the calendar, you can focus on the meaning of the birth of a baby in the town of Bethlehem so long ago.

Hang the calendar in a prominent place--somewhere you find yourself going each day--such as the refrigerator, a bulletin board or even on your bedroom door. Each morning read the day's suggestion. At day's end, review what you were able to do that day.

May you find the quiet moments and gentle peace of this holy season.

3  Sunday. Today is the first day of Advent. The word advent means "a coming." Pray, "O God, may I be watchful for the ways in which Jesus comes to me this week. Amen."

4 Monday.  Jesus' coming was good news to the poor and outcast. Where are the needy among you today? Choose a cause or organization to support this Christmas. Decorate a can to hold the money you collect while using this calendar.

5  Tuesday. Watch for ways to be of service. Does your elderly neighbor need anything when you go to the store? Do you know of someone struggling financially?--Can you anonymously pay part of their gas bill?

6 Wednesday. One story of St. Nicholas tells of his anonymous gifts to three sisters in need. Watch for ways in which your brothers and sisters are in need. Do a kind deed for each of your siblings. Place $1 in your giving can for each kind deed.

7 Thursday.  If we are not deliberate, watchful and prayerful, the meaning of Christmas can sweep right by us. Spend 15 minutes in silence today.

8 Friday.  Watch for an opportunity to discuss "needs" and "wants" with a child. What role does TV play in children's definitions of "need"? Give 5¢ for every toy commercial you see today.

9  Saturday. Sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."

10 Sunday. Pray, "O God, help me to find quiet moments to listen for 'that still, small voice' in my heart. Guide me in remembering whose birthday it is. Amen."

11  Monday. It's two weeks till Christmas. What are you searching for? What might you find?

12 Tuesday. Today in Mexico people celebrate the festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the early 1500s Mary appeared to a peasant on his way to mass. Poor people saw this as a sign of their worth. Where do you search for self-worth?.

13 Wednesday.  On this day in Sweden, people celebrate St. Lucia Day. Often the oldest child serves her family breakfast in bed. Give 25¢ for each person at the breakfast table today.

14 Thursday.  People search for all kinds of things--from a #2 pencil to a few moments of quiet, from an old friend's phone number to the identity of a birth mother. List all the things you search for today. Give 5¢ for each thing on your list.

15  Friday.  Search your closet and drawers for clothing, shoes and other objects you no longer need. Give the items to people in need in your church or community.

16 Saturday.  Sing, "O Holy Night." Pay attention to the words, "the soul felt its worth." What soul-searching will you do in the coming weeks?

17  Sunday.  What are your hopes for this Advent season? Spend five minutes in silent reflection. Pray, "O Holy God, that my hopes be your hopes, my ways, your ways. Amen."

18  Monday.  Think back on your first Christmas after you left your parents' home. What has changed? Are your hopes for the season any different? Give 10¢ for each change you can think of.

19 Tuesday.  Be a sign of hope today as you deal with others. At day's end, give 25¢ for each time you were able to be such a sign.

20 Wednesday.  The hopes and expectations of many generations were fulfilled by a tiny baby in Bethlehem. Take some time to think about how Jesus fulfills your hopes.

21 Thursday.  Make a New Year's resolution tree. Place the end of a bare branch in an empty can and fill the can with dirt or newspaper. As you think of resolutions or hopes, write them down on slips of paper and tape the slips to the branch.

22 Friday.  Gather up the loose ends of arrangements today. Use the coming weekend to begin entering that deep Christmas joy where heaven meets earth.

23 Saturday.  Sing "Silent Night." Spend a few minutes drinking in the calmness of the season.

24 Christmas Eve.  Read the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-14) by candlelight. Pray, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to all. Amen."


Which Way to Bethlehem?

A Calendar for the Christmas Season

CHRISTMAS DOES NOT END ON DECEMBER 25th! In fact, the 12 days of Christmas are just beginning. The great festival of Epiphany is not far off. Continue your Christmas journey and joyous celebration.

25 CHRISTMAS.  For many children (and adults), Christmas seems over after opening gifts on Christmas morning. Take time this afternoon--away from TV and toys--to rejoice in the birth of Jesus. Sing a song, light a candle, pray.

26  Tuesday.  Make a pot of soup today. Use Christmas leftovers if you can. Share some of the soup with a single neighbor, busy family or a community shelter.

27  Wednesday.  Many of us enjoy Christmas because people share their "good will." Do something kind for a stranger today to carry over the joy of the season.

28  Thursday.  Read Matthew 2:13-18. We see adults acting both to harm (Herod) and to protect (Joseph and Mary) a child. Pray for children around the world, and give 5¢ for every child you know.

29  Friday.  The year is about to end. Gather your family and give thanks for all the shared events that brought you joy and happiness.

30  Saturday.  Sing "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing." Give 50¢ for each stanza you remember by heart.

31  Sunday.  A new week, a new year. Christ is now among us. Pray, "O God, grant me new vision, new heart and new strength in the coming year. Amen."

1  Monday.  Read the "hopes" on your New Year's resolution tree. Give 5¢ for each.

2  Tuesday.  Think back on the events of the past year. What are the three words that best reflect your life this past year? Give 25¢ for each.

3  Wednesday.  Read Luke 2:19. Ponder in your heart the awe that Mary must have felt as she held baby Jesus.

4  Thursday.  Some people send holiday greeting cards but seldom take the time to write more than a few words. Choose one person to write a longer letter to in early January. Share with him/her your reflections on the past Christmas season.

5  Friday.  Does your community provide a place for cut trees to be chipped into mulch? Drive through your neighborhood, pick up trees headed for the landfill and recycle them.

6  Saturday.  Sing, "We Three Kings." The magi honored Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. How can we honor Jesus today? Give the money you collected to the organization you chose to support.

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