“The Upper Room” is an all age gathering, where we’re having lots of fun and enjoying exploring faith in a messy, all-in, creative kind of way.
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This week we kicked into the advent season as we begin looking toward Christmas, and thought some of the resources we used might be of interest to others. Our theme for Advent this year follows that of the Uniting Church in Tassie – waiting.
The afternoon followed a simple outline:
- Gathering: drinks, afternoon tea, card making (we made “we are thinking of you as we wait for Christmas” cards to send to far off friends and family)
- Telling the story: reading from Mark 1:1-18 – creative, fun, emphasising that John is saying “Jesus is coming and its gonna be GREAT!” and wondering how we wait when we hear news like that. Sometimes we are impatient (I want it now!), other times waiting patiently
- Advent Calendar for Waiting: built an egg-carton advent calendar (notes below) while talking about things we have waited for, what helps us wait, and what it’s like to wait for Christmas. Plenty of space for conversation.
- Christmas “Pass the Parcel”: A pass the parcel with each layer unpacking the meanings behind the various signs of Christmas (notes below), last layer being advent candles to finish off the egg-carton calendars
- Dinner: we always finish with dinner, chatting, reflecting, enjoying
Here’s the various resource files we used:
- upper room advent 1 readings – scripture verses for inserting in advent calendar
- upper room advent pass the parcel – info strips for pass the parcel activity
- upper room advent 2011 – daily theme/discussion question
- advent egg box – the calendar cover sheet
We built our own Advent Calendars out of egg cartons using a fairly simple process.
- each calendar takes two egg cartons
- cut the lid off one, and tuck the left over base into the lid of the second (see photo below), trimming any excess
- cut the “knobs” of the right hand side down to the level of the carton (so you’ll have five knobs sticking up on the left, none on the right (again, see the photo)
- in the base of each pocket (24) write the appropriate date per your cover-sheet
- into each pocket add a small treat (we used christmas-themed chocolates, lollies, small gifts like coloured/shaped paper clips etc, use your imagination), that days scripture reading (from the readings page above, cut into strips) and that days theme/discussion question (from the file above)
- make a cover sheet from a single A4, with either a count-down or a date (we used a date) to line up with each of the egg-carton pockets (from the “egg box” file above)
- cut five holes into the cover sheet to align with the five protruding knobs, slide the cover sheet down over the egg cartonss, fixing with sticky tape around the edges (we also used glue on every flat surface we could find
- into each of the five protruding knobs, we stuck an “advent” candle – with that days scripture reading, theme and discussion question wrapped around it
- in a normal advent calendar style you would only need the 24 pocks and could leave out the candles. We included them because we wanted to start with sunday’s Advent 1, and from that date its 29 days until Christmas (do the math with two egg carts + five candles!)
Use the Calendar in any way that suits your family. We open ours at breakfast each day, read the reading, read the theme and unpack the discussion question in a way that suits our 4-9 year old kids. Oh yeah, we also eat the chocolates (for breakfast).