Advent offers some unique opportunities for creativity in the church because of the length of its celebration and the possibilities for wide ranging artistic reactions and interpretations. Advent– which generally starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas–is the season of anticipation and waiting for the coming of Christ’s birth celebrated in many Christian traditions and churches around the world. Your church may celebrate with the lighting of Advent candles, sharing devotionals, reading Old Testament scripture that relates to the anticipated appearing of the Messiah, or creating art that illustrates aspects of waiting or anticipation.
A new booklet from Paraclete Press offers a unique take on celebrating the Advent season by profiling animals that naturally practice a season of waiting. All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings looks at how animals like the turtle, porcupine, wood frog, muskrat and 20 more can teach us about waiting and anticipation of new beginnings, acting as parables for the waiting humans experience in winter and at Advent. Illustrated with beautiful wood-cut images, its a quite charming devotional and brings life the verse, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed,” (Romans 8:19) applying it directly to this special time of the year for Christians. It contains little direct scripture, so churches would probably want to pair the devotionals with scripture readings, but children especially with be immediately engaged with the stories of the animals intuitive waiting habits. In fact, this resource could help provide wonderful perspective for adult congregations, but it might also be a delightful new way to spark imagination and conversation in children about God’s natural design for waiting and anticipation that is illustrated in the celebration of Advent.