Mission Together Advent Calendar 2023
Welcome to our Mission Together Digital Advent Calendar. Click on the numbers to reveal a reflection for each day up to Christmas Eve . We hope you enjoy journeying to Christmas with us!
Friday 1 December
Today we are opening the first door of our classroom calendar. But this year the liturgical (or Church) season of Advent officially starts on Sunday 3 December.
Today, let’s just spend a quiet moment asking God to help us, our families at home, and our school family to make a good journey through the season of Advent.
Saturday 2 December
Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. To mark this, churches around the world will be preparing the Advent wreath. Advent wreaths help Christians get ready for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The four candles represent Christ, the light of the world. We light them one by one as we journey through the weeks of Advent; the central white candle will be lit on Christmas day.
It’s important to prepare for the arrival of Jesus in our hearts, too. Let’s spend a moment in silence thinking about how we can get ready to welcome Jesus into our hearts this Advent.
First Sunday of Advent
Today’s Gospel from Saint Mark (Mk 13:33-37), urges us to get ready for Jesus. Read the Gospel and then think about how can we prepare ourselves for his arrival.
Jesus said to his disciples… ‘be careful! Always be ready! You don’t know when that time will be. It is like a man who goes on a trip. He leaves his house and lets his servants take care of it. He gives each servant a special job to do. One servant has the work of guarding the door. The man tells this servant always to be watchful. This is what I am now telling you. You must always be ready. You don’t know when the owner of the house will come back. He might come in the evening, or at midnight, or in the early morning, or when the sun rises. He might come back quickly. If you are always ready, then he will not find you sleeping. I tell you this, and I say this to everyone: be ready!’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Monday 4 December
Yesterday, churches around the world will have lit the first candle on their Advent wreaths, to help Christians prepare for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The Advent wreaths circular shape and evergreen leaves remind us of God’s never-ending love.
Spend a moment thanking God for the beautiful evergreen trees that provide the branches for our Advent wreaths. If you are outside today, look out for the beautiful green colours these trees display; they can lift our spirits on grey winter days.
Tuesday 5 December
During Advent, some of the Bible readings we hear at Church were written by prophets. Prophets are God’s messengers. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, prophets were reminding the people of God’s great love and mercy, and gradually preparing them to welcome God’s Son into the world. Some of the prophets’ words can be heard in our Mission Together Advent carol, We are waiting.
Listen to the carol, We are waiting, and see if you can spot them.
Wednesday 6 December
Today is the feast of St Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra (in modern-day Turkey), over a thousand years ago. A Bishop’s role is very important. They have to look after thousands of people. Bishop Nicholas became known and loved throughout the land for his generosity to the poor and his special concern for children. There are many stories of Bishop Nicholas saving young people from danger, which is why he became the patron saint of children.
Today, ask Saint Nicholas to join you in praying for children around the world as you say the Mission Together prayer: May all children, in the world, share love, share friendship, and live in the peace of God’s love. Now and forever. Amen.
Thursday 7 December
GLOBAL FAMILY FACT: Did you know that in the Philippines during Advent, people decorate homes and streets with big paper lanterns called Paroles? Paroles are signs that the people are lighting the way for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus.
Spend a moment thinking about the signs we use to help people know that Jesus is soon to be born. These could be Christmas cards with images of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Nativity sets. A star at the top of our Christmas tree. Christmas carols. Ask God to help us share these signs with others too.
Image: Keith Bacongco, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Friday 8 December
Today is a special feast day for Our Lady. It is the day we remember how, from the beginning of her life, God was preparing Mary to be the mother of Jesus. There are some signs of this in the painting. To her left, the Bible shows us that Mary knew God’s plan for the world. Underneath, the Jewish prayer shawl shows us that Mary was a faithful Jewish woman who, through her prayers, stayed close to God. And the thread in her hand is a sign that Mary was a hard worker and homemaker who would do all she could to care for Jesus.
Today, let’s say the Hail Mary in gratitude for Our Blessed Mother Mary in heaven, and for the people who love and look after us too.
Saturday 9 December
We’ve almost finished our first week of Advent, our time of hopeful preparation for the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Today, write an Advent prayer or poem. Try to include the words: hope, wait, light, Mary, Jesus.
Second Sunday of Advent
In today’s Gospel reading, from Saint Mark (1:1-8) we learn about the important prophet, John the Baptist. Read the Gospel below. What was it that John asked the people to do?
This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It began as the prophet Isaiah had written:
God said, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you. Someone is shouting in the desert: “Get the road ready for the Lord, make a straight path for him to travel!”’
So John appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. ‘Turn away from your sins and be baptized,’ he told the people, ‘and God will forgive your sins.’ Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.
John wore clothes made of camel hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. He announced to the people, ‘The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Monday 11 December
Yesterday’s Gospel reading told us about the prophet, John the Baptist, and how John urged the people to prepare for Jesus’ arrival. John urged people to be sorry for bad choices, to ask forgiveness, and to learn from mistakes. Following John’s advice helps to build peace in our hearts, in our families, and in our communities.
As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, let’s quietly ask God to help us be peace-builders this week. Maybe you could make a peace paper-chain as a symbol of your efforts to create peace.
Rebecca Wilson, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Tuesday 12 December
Yesterday’s reflection helped us to think about peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to show us how to build peace in our hearts and in our world.
Today, let us spend a quiet moment asking God to continue to help us be peace-makers.
Now let us say the Mission Together Prayer for children living in war zones: May all children in the world, share love, share friendship, and live in the peace of God’s love. Now and forever. Amen.
Wednesday 13 December
GLOBAL FAMILY FACT: Today is the feast of Saint Lucy. Saint Lucy lived in Italy, in Roman times. She was killed because she was a Christian and because she gave all her money to the poor. The name Lucy comes from the Latin word for light. Saint Lucy’s feast day celebrates how the light of Jesus triumphs over darkness. Schools in Denmark remember Saint Lucy’s day by holding a candle lit procession. Pupils dress in white, sing hymns and pray together.
Today, let’s quietly ask God to help us be a light to the world.
Antoine Taveneaux, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Thursday 14 December
There are lots of beautiful carols that help us to think about the peace that Jesus brought into the world. One famous carol is Silent Night. This carol is so beautiful and peaceful that, on Christmas Eve 1914, it even stopped soldiers fighting. As the night drew in, a German soldier in the trenches began to sing Silent Night, then an English soldier joined him. Before long, their fellow soldiers joined the singing too. The peace stretched miles down the trench line and in some places lasted for days.
As a quiet prayer, listen carefully to Silent Night and think carefully about the words.
Friday 15 December
In this second week of Advent we have thought about peace. It is important to remember that peace in communities, and in our world, must always start with us. Is there someone you may have upset this week that you need to say sorry to? Or is there someone who has upset you that you need to forgive?
Spend a moment asking God to help you say sorry, to forgive, and to be a peace-maker.
Saturday 16 December
We’ve almost finished our second week of Advent, our time of preparation for the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Today, find somewhere peaceful to sit and thank God for the people who love and care for you.
Sunday 17 December
Today’s Psalm is based upon a reading from the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:46-50, 53-54). Read the Psalm now, paying attention to Mary’s joyful words:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
My soul rejoices in my God.
The Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy.
Today, find somewhere quiet and spend a moment thanking God, like Mary, for blessings we have received (try to think of three blessings e.g. the food you eat). Finish with the Our Father prayer.
Monday 18 December
Yesterday was Gaudete Sunday. In Latin, Gaudete means rejoice. Whereas most of the candles on the Advent Wreath are purple, the candle lit yesterday was pink. The vestments that the priest wore yesterday were pink too! In the Church the colour pink is a sign of joy. We rejoice on the third Sunday of Advent, because we are getting nearer to the birth of Jesus.
Let’s spend a quiet moment, thanking God for all the moments of joy we get to experience in our lives.
Tuesday 19 December
GLOBAL FAMILY FACT: On the island of Mauke, in the continent of Oceania, the people prepare for the birth of Jesus with a visiting tradition is known as Rangokere. During Rangokere, huge baskets of food are shared between the two main villages on the island. The baskets are shared with everyone, whatever their faith. People also sing and dance, so that the whole community can share friendship and joy together.
The people of Mauke know how important it is to share with everyone. Who can we share friendship and joy with this week?
Wednesday 20 December
During Advent, we remember how God’s angels brought the joyful news of Jesus’ coming to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. The angels’ joyful visits and the special message they shared are remembered each year when angel decorations are placed on our Christmas trees. The tradition of putting angels on Christmas trees began hundreds of years ago in Germany, but today the tradition is followed around the world.
Angels are messengers who bring God’s word to us on earth. Words are very powerful. We can use our words to wound or heal, to spread pain or joy. What joyful words can you think of about Jesus’ birth? Spend a moment in silence, asking God to help you spread joy with your words today.
Ander van der Wel from Netherlands, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Thursday 21 December
Yesterday we reflected on God’s angels and how they brought the joyful news of Jesus’ coming to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds. One way we can also share this joyful news is by sending Christmas cards.
It can sometimes be hard finding Christmas cards that show pictures of the Holy Family. Today spend some time creating a card that helps others to see why Christmas Day is so special.
Thursday 22 December
GLOBAL FAMILY FACT: Every year, in the last days of Advent, children in Mexico remember Mary and Joseph’s arrival in Bethlehem. This Advent tradition is called Posada. In each Posada, children carry painted clay figures of Mary and Joseph, and call at the houses of friends and neighbors to ask if Mary and Joseph can stay for the night. The answer is usually no, so the children have to keep searching. Eventually the children find a welcoming house. Once Mary and Joseph are inside, everyone says prayers of thanks, and then the children have a Posada Party! The Posada tradition reminds us how important it is to make people feel welcome.
Today, find somewhere quiet and pray for those who are looking for somewhere to stay this Christmas. Ask God to keep homeless people and refugees in his care. Ask God to also help us offer welcome and kindness to all His children.
AlejandroLinaresGarcia, CC BY-SA 4.0 httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.jpg
Friday 23 December
Today, billions of people around the world are getting ready for the birth of Jesus. Christmas reminds us that Jesus was born to show God the Father’s love for all his children – whoever they are and wherever they live in the world. How wonderful, that on every continent people are preparing, just as we are, to celebrate the birth of God’s Son, Jesus.
Today, find somewhere quiet and say a Christmas prayer for all our sisters and brothers around the world: A prayer for peace, justice, and togetherness.
Saturday 24 December
GLOBAL FAMILY FACT: In the Democratic Republic of Congo, children and adults prepare for the birth of Jesus with drama and music. On Christmas Eve, people gather in churches to take part in and watch a very special nativity play. These nativity plays last for hours, as they begin in the early evening with the Bible story of creation and the garden of Eden. The play then continues through the Bible, including the messages of the prophets, and other stories, until it finally reaches Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. The birth of Jesus happens as close to midnight as possible, but then the shepherds and wise men are still to arrive, so the play doesn’t finish until about 1 am!
Today, is there someone you could you tell the Christmas story to? Maybe you could act it out? Perhaps with a nativity set?