It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving. If you’d like one more chance to experience thankfulness before jumping into the December holiday season, check out tinyurl.com/y7h69s8s. Beliefnet has gathered seven prayers of Thanksgiving to guide the reader through gratefulness.
Often, this would be the opening weekend of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Since Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day, usually that's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but, this year, Advent doesn’t begin until Dec. 3.
Many people enjoy using some type of daily guide, often a book or a calendar with a gift, through Advent. These can be found at many stores or you can make your own. Advent wreaths, where a new candle is lit each Sunday and then on Christmas, are also popular.
Here’s a look at several online calendars.
Loyola Press offers a calendar that draws from several of the publisher’s sources. It includes an Arts & Faith Advent theme with videos on Sundays. Other writers from varied backgrounds with varied themes share their seasonal devotions the rest of the week.
Loyola Press also has a children’s calendar, which has a single, simple daily activity on it. For instance, Day 1 is “I will spend a few extra minutes in prayer today.” It is available as a clickable online calendar or as a one-page printable calendar. It is also available in Spanish.
This one also is set up for children, but it teaches about other countries. The main page is a board with dates scrambled on it. Select a date and find a flag to be identified. A second click takes the viewer to clues about the country. A click on the flag gives the answer. It has 25 days on it, so just pick the date or start on Dec. 1.
Beliefnet offers a daily Advent calendar that links to quizzes and articles on various Christmas themes, such as how the season is marked around the world, how scholars view the Christmas story, prayers for peace and much more.
The Anglicans offer a more interactive experience. Go to the page and sign up for an email. Each day of Advent, an email will arrive with a seasonal word. Participants are asked to take a photo that illustrates the word and post it on social media with #adventword #theterm. (If you need a head start, the word for Dec. 3 is #Awaken and for Dec. 25, it is #celebrate.)
This is just a sample of the many forms of internet Advent calendars to guide your season. A search will find others. You may want to start with your own denomination or a church that you like.
And don’t forget to search the app store for your phone. One standout is the Musical Advent Calendar, which has two versions. Both play classical Christmas pieces.