The Adventure of Advent

9 ideas for transforming the season

6. Hum a New Tune

Although you might normally play "Away in a Manger" as your soundtrack throughout December, hold off on Christmas music until the 25th. Instead, make a CD or playlist of songs appropriate for Advent. Don't know any? Search online at and click Topics, then Advent.

7. Rise and Knead

Get up early one morning to make yeast bread. As you wait for the dough to rise, think of how those waiting for the Messiah to be born must have felt. Consider how you can prepare and watch for Christ's Second Coming.

8. Convert the Common

Create beautiful outdoor luminaries out of plain tin cans. Remove the label and wash any size can, fill it with water (leaving a half-inch at the top), and freeze it overnight. Draw an Advent-themed design such as a star or angel on a piece of paper and tape it to the frozen can. Use a hammer and nail to pound small holes into the tin to transfer the design. When the ice melts, place a candle inside and set it on your porch at night. Let this project remind you of the Incarnation—the light of the universe carried as a baby in the womb of a common girl.

9. Ponder Prayers and Poetry

Purchase a blank journal in which to record a daily prayer or poem on Advent themes such as waiting, darkness, and hope. Each year during Advent, spend time reading reflections already recorded there.

Joy-Elizabeth Lawrence is a freelance writer who works at Calvin College.

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