Guides to Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and other special occasions in the Church Year.
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2014
In the Western Church, Advent begins the Sunday closest to St. Andrew's Day (Nov. 30) and lasts for the 4 Sundays immediately preceding Christmas. In the Eastern Church, Advent begins in the middle of November. Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year. Although Advent is no longer formally a fasting period, as is Lent, it continues to mark a quiet period of preparation, both for Christmas and for the Second Coming of Christ.
Christmas Is Not Your Birthday
Publication Date: 2011-08-01
Reflections from a United Methodist pastor on focusing on the missional meaning of Christmas rather than the consumer observance.
Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas
Call Number: Check your local public library
Publication Date: 1998-12-02
From environmental activist and United Methodist Bill McKibben: a call for scaling back the consumer aspect of the holiday season to focus on relationships and experiences.
Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season
Call Number: Check your local public library, purchase a copy, or request via Interlibrary Loan
Publication Date: 1991-10-28
A guide to thinking through both practical and spiritual elements of planning a simpler Christmas season and enjoying it more.
TextWeek Advent Resources Page
Includes liturgies, worship planning, "Blue Christmas"/longest night, hanging of the greens, artwork, devotionals, and reflections
The Advent Conspiracy
Includes graphics, bulletin board resources, and videos for focusing on a four-week Advent series, with one of the following themes each week: 1)Worship fully; 2)Spend less; 3)Give more; 4)Love all. Also includes a children's curriculum. The Advent Conspiracy was started by 5 pastors in 2006.
Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Advent and Christmas with Charles Wesley
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BV40 .C465 2007
Publication Date: 2007-09-01
Provides meditations, songs, and reflections centered around the hymns and poems written by Anglican priest and co-founder of Methodism, Charles Wesley. Readings are suitable for corporate or individual use.
An Advent Sourcebook
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BX2170 .A4 A38 1988
Publication Date: 1988-09-01
Includes a selection of prayers, scripture passages, and reflections suitable for Advent observances. Selections are divided by week.
Something Is about to Happen: Sermons for Advent & Christmas
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BV40 .L66 1996
Publication Date: 1996-08-01
This slim, 60-page volume presents 7 sermons based on texts from the Advent and Christmas seasons. These sermons are intended as models helpful for ministers preparing for their own sermons.
Proclamation Series A, B, C
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BS534.5 .P765
This series contains sermon notes for each season of the Revised Common Lectionary, including 1 slim volume for the Advent/Christmas season each year.
Series A is written by Mark Allan Powell (1992), Series B is written by William H. Willimon (1993), and Series C is written by Christopher R. Seitz (1988)
We Light the Candles: Devotions Related to Family Use of the Advent Wreath
Publication Date: 2004-01-01
Available via Interlibrary Loan or as a Kindle download. Appropriate for use with young children.
The Family Book of Advent
Call Number: Check your local public library or purchase a digital version
Publication Date: 2012-10-01
25 hands-on devotionals and activities for observing Advent with children.
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BV40 .D68 2003
Publication Date: 2003-10-21
Provides prayers for personal use for morning, midday, and evening offices for the period from Advent through Epiphany. This volume is an excerpt from The Divine Hours volume covering prayers for autumn and wintertime.
Christmas with the Holy Fathers
Call Number: THEO STACKS: BV45 .C587 2008
Publication Date: 2008-11-01
A selection of writings from Catholic Popes regarding the religious year from Advent to Epiphany. Passages are short (1-2 paragraphs or pages) and suitable for brief readings or meditations.
See also our Preaching Research Guide, which includes lectionary and other seasonal preaching resources.
The Birth of the Messiah
Call Number: BS2575.2 .B76 1993
Standard commentary on the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke. Comprehensive; a goldmine of information.
- United Methodist Church Advent and Christmas Resources
Includes articles, videos, and useful links for helping churches plan Advent and Christmas observances. Topics include: Blue Christmas or Longest Night services, an Advent Planning Calendar with music suggestions, and connections to topical issues like immigration and care for children.
- US Conference of Catholic Bishops Advent Resources
In addition to a digital advent calendar, this page includes blessings for Advent wreaths, Christmas trees, and nativity scenes, as well as a Festival of Lessons and Carols, liturgical notes, and excerpts from Pope Benedict's Spiritual Thoughts series on Christmas.
- Reformed Church in America Advent Resources
- Call to Worship
The first issue of each year contains lectionary aids for the coming year. Each week includes a selection of hymns keyed to particular hymnals as well as prayers, blessings, anthems for various choirs, and suggestions for handbell and organ music. Location: Periodicals room
- Journal for Preachers
The "Advent" issue (first issue of each volume) contains a selection of sermons based on the scripture passages for the year and general themes of the season. Location: Periodicals room
- Reformed Worship
The September issue contains articles, liturgies, prayer station ideas, and candle readings for the season of Advent.
Location: Periodicals room
Got a favorite Christmas site, or want to recommend a book or article? Feel free to submit it here.