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Advent on the Frontline: everything you need for a whole-life Christmas

Steve Rouse, Church Team Director at LICC, on how you can equip the people in your church to live out the hope of Christmas in daily life with simple Advent gift boxes.

Advent – that wonderful time of year when you can’t remember where you put last year’s Christmas decorations, you hope there’ll be enough children to stage the nativity play, and you look forward (🙁) to dressing up as Santa for the pensioners’ Christmas lunch. All together now: ‘We wish you a merry Christmas…’

I’m grouching (or is that grinching?). Truthfully, though, it’s wonderful preparing for all these things that bring folk together. For many of us, Christmas means tens or even hundreds of people we don’t normally see coming through our doors to sing carols, eat mince pies, and, we pray, understand something of the gospel message.

But Christmas doesn’t stop there. Because when the carol services end, our congregations go out to their frontlines: the ordinary places where God’s put them, amongst even more people who don’t know Jesus.

Christmas is about the message of hope coming to meet us – not God waiting for us to come to the message of hope. In the same way, we can live out the Advent message amongst the people we meet day to day, not just by bringing them to church.

Every December, we have an amazing opportunity to equip people for that mission. So this year, how about making a one-degree shift and equipping people to share hope out on their various frontlines as well as in church?

‘How do I do that?’ I hear you cry. Never fear – LICC has the answer…

 

Send home Advent gift boxes!

This is a really simple idea, but one that’s worked wonders in my church. On the first Sunday of Advent, you simply give each person in your church a gift box – designed to encourage them to live out the messages they hear each week of Advent on their frontlines.

Each box contains five candles, chocolate coins, and envelopes – one each for every week in Advent. The idea is to build in the excitement of opening Advent calendars – and in my church’s experience, everyone from five to 95 years old loves it.

The real whole-life Christmas magic is contained in the little envelopes. Alongside the chocolate coin is a card, including a verse from the section of the story being focused on that week and a simple frontline practice to attempt – designed so as many of your folk as possible can give them a go.

Each one is an opportunity for people to take the advent message of hope to the places they find themselves:  schools, neighbourhoods, workplaces and homes – not just waiting for the people there to come to church over Christmas.

Our prayer is that this simple idea will help shift the dial in your church, encouraging all to see how God is at work on their frontlines at Christmas time – and how they get to join in.

Here’s all you need to bring the idea to life:

 

Ingredients
  • 1 gift box or bag – available on Amazon
  • 5 C7 envelopes – available on Amazon
  • 5 tealights – one red and four white
  • 5 chocolate coins – one per envelope
  • 1 instruction card – download below
  • 5 weekly prompts – download below
  • 1 title card – download below

 

Instructions
  1. Assemble the Advent packs: Watch the video above to see how. Why not get a few folk from your church together to do this? Pray over the boxes when you’ve finished, that they would help people join God at work on their frontlines over Advent.
  2. Hand them out to your congregation: Share the vision of the boxes as part of the worship on the first Sunday of advent. As the message came from the angel to Mary, so we have the opportunity to share hope with those around us this Advent.
  3. Share how it’s going: Each Sunday, as you come to light the Advent candle, invite people to share stories from the past week of how they’ve seen God working on their frontlines. Try and lead the way yourself! They don’t have to be incredible – just simple stories of things attempted, people encouraged, changes made…

After the past 18 months, the people around us need a message of hope more than ever.  May this simple activity help the people in your church make a difference for God on their frontlines – reflecting his love in the ordinary details of their day-to-day lives.

Steve Rouse
Church Team Director

Download Advent on the Frontline cards

Get the title card, prayer card, and weekly prompts for free. The download file includes one set for printing yourself, and one which can be sent to a professional printer if you wish.