2020 Advent Season Resources
Celebrating Advent and Christmas in the Time of COVID-19
Like all things in this unprecedented year, Advent 2020 will look and feel different.
Yet, in spite of the need for social distancing and other safety-first measures that are now a necessary part of our worship experience, we will still celebrate the season's beautiful traditions, symbolism, art, music, and liturgical practices by employing new activities and a creative reworking of our typical ways of doing things.
To help, we will place readily-available Advent resources and other useful information on this page for your consideration, use, and adaptation. Please check back often as the season progresses.
We will also aim to consistently add to the page with the intention of growing it with tried-and-true ideas shared from around our Conference.
If you have plans, ideas or information that you feel can be useful to others looking to lift congregant's spirits and further a sense of excitement, anticipation, and connection in these challenging times, please share. Our goal is to collect any and all so that we can post them more broadly.
Please e-mail us details on your creative plans for Advent celebrations at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ideas from New York Annual Conference Clergy and Laity
The "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Eve (Day)” Campaign happening in the Catskill Hudson and Long Island East districts is a play on the song. Here's how it works: Congregants from each church in the district (the community and other churches can be asked to join in as well) open their windows, stand out on the sidewalks or go out on their front porches, etc. to ring bells for two minutes at 6:00pm on Christmas Eve.
You can order a 10 piece set of inexpensive bells here. NYAC churches interested in getting more information on how to participate can email Margaret Howe for details.
Distribute kits for gingerbread houses and make them together as virtual intergenerational activity on Zoom.
Give members of your church family kits to make their own nativity sets (or paint the figures) and home altars with devotions and prayer experiments they can try at home.
Adapt the VBS/church school curriculum to make it a drive-thru Bethlehem Marketplace experience for the whole community.
Light candles outside where neighbors can see, possibly on Christmas Eve, and have a distanced singer or recording of Silent Night as they are held high.
New York Annual Conference Connectional Ministries
- Advent Action a Day is a resource geared to youth, but realistically anyone can take part.
- Infographic with ideas and resources to help your church celebrate Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
- A Christmas Pageant Skit: A Newscaster Christmas Pageant (This skit translates well for performance on the Zoom platform)
UMC Advent Devotions, Activities and Information
- An Invitation: Devotions for Advent 2020
- Wesley Hymn Devotions for Advent and Christmas
- Make Room for Christmas: Advent Devotions
- Coloring Advent: Creative Devotions for Christmas
- Books to Welcome Advent
UMC Discipleship Ministries
- Company's Coming: A Worship Series for Advent & Christmas 2020
- Millennial/Centennial Voices from the Africana Diaspora (Advent worship resources from the Africana tradition)
- Worship Matters: Podcast Episode 31 - Advent Worship at Home
- Matters: Podcast Episode 29 - Planning for Advent
- Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2020
- Advent and Christmas Music in the Midst of COVID-19
- Creative ideas for Christmas Eve worship 2020
- Go deeper with Advent Prayer Stations
- The .99 Advent Wreath is an oldie, but goodie that is adaptable for a Zoom or small group activity.“ It is inexpensive and connects children with Christian tradition.
- New Ways to Celebrate Advent with Kids
- An Epiphany Blessing of Homes and Chalking the Door
- New Year, New Beginnings: Social Media Graphics
The General Commission on Religion and Race
- Advent 2020: Seeking Jesus, The Advent of Justice and Peace. This is a five-week resource that includes sermon starters, lectionary texts, suggested hymns, children and youth activities and more. Cost: $20
- Advent Photo-a-Day 2020 Challenge is a month-long event. Each day during the season of Advent, a word for reflection will be posted with the goal of encouraging reflection, and a response to that word through a picture posted on social media.
Amplify Media/United Methodist Publishing House
In The Promise of Advent: Preparing for a Season of Hope in Unparalleled Times. This online series is hosted by Adam Hamilton, a UMC pastor and bestselling author. During the FREE webinar, church leaders discuss their hopes and concerns around Advent planning with a panel of pastors and experts.
The Upper Room
- 2020 Advent Worship Litanies
- Child of the Light is an e-course led by Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson. You will be invited to experience the weeks before Christmas differently this year as Richardson offers live worship, prayer, reflection, daily reading, space for conversation, and more. Cost: $19
- The Blue Christmas: An Experience of Light and Hope in an Unprecedented Advent is an online experience featuring Todd Outcalt’s book Blue Christmas. The course (running from Sunday, November 29 through Friday, December 25, 2020) include a variety of elements and participants are not required to participate in every element of the online experience. All live sessions will be recorded and available for viewing in our online classroom. Cost: $25
Cokesbury Advent Resources
- Advent Studies Comparison Chart
- Advent 2020 Seasonal Catalog
- New Advent Studies for 2020
- Children's Activities for the Christian Year
- Fear Not Advent Series
- Holiday Planning in a Pandemic, from Ministry Architects
- Fill the Night with Music and Light are resources from Worship Design Studio focused on safe singing.
- CHRISTMAS – PARK, PORCH, AND SIDEWALK SINGS! from the Center for Congregational Song, the resource and programmatic arm of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.