Using an Advent calendar is my favorite way to pay attention and pray during the four weeks of Advent. Unlike the store-bought versions, my calendars have no doors, just blank spaces for the days of Advent. Each day I fill one space with a prayer or meditation– in words, doodles, and color. The daily practice of drawing on the calendar gives me a creative and simple way to immerse myself in the Advent experience and to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The accumulation of daily doodlings forms a colorful tapestry and a record of my spiritual journey for the weeks leading up to Christmas. This practice feels prayerful and playful. No artistic skill is necessary! (Examples from previous years are at the bottom of the post.)
2021 Advent Calendar Templates
Click on the name below the calendar to access the .pdf of the calendar template. Download from there. Feel free to share the calendar templates with others, for individual or group use. Please Share this post on your social media platforms. Thanks. These templates are also available on the Resources Page.
Note: Some school system emails do not allow downloads from unknown webpages. If you are from a school or church and having trouble, try using your personal/home email to download the templates. You can also contact me from the Contact Page.
Candles Star Stained Glass
Grid Calendar Candles with Dates
Ways to Use the Calendar Templates
1) Write the name of someone for whom you are praying in the space.
Doodle around the name, add color. Think of each stroke of color or each doodled mark (line, dot, arc, spiral…) as a wordless prayer. If words come to you as you draw, pray them–in your mind or write the word on the page. Squeeze them onto the calendar in
the shape or along
the margins. When you have finished with your daily entry, say “Amen” or recite a short passage of Scripture appropriate to Advent like “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” (Psalm 27:1) This tiny colorful mosaic creates a frame around the person’s name. Returning to the calendar each day is a visual reminder to pray for each person again.
2) Choose a word from the daily Scripture readings
for the season. Here is a website to access the Revised Common Lectionary
3) Choose a word from a book of Advent meditations. Combine your calendar with one of the many wonderful books of daily Advent meditations and reflections. Read the entry for the day and choose a word that jumps out at you. Write it in the shape and start to doodle and color around it. Marinate in the word. What is the word saying to you? What does God have to say to you about the word? Keep a computer or notebook next to your calendar so you can write any insights or “ahas.”
4) Write and ponder an Advent word: prepare, wait, pregnant, hope, watch, darkness, wilderness, longing, light…
as you doodle and color. #AdventWord,
a ministry of Forward Movement, offers a new word each day and the chance to see how others throughout the world have reflected on the word. The finished calendar is a visual dictionary of some of the important concepts of Advent.
5) Write something you hope for each day. Advent is a season of hope. Choose a word of hope and write it in the space. Let the word fill you as you draw and add color.
6) Celebrate the Women and Men of the Bible. Choose a different person for each day and learn what they did and why they are important to our story and God’s story. As you draw, be quiet and listen to what these people might reveal to you about Jesus and God.
7) Write one of the many names for Jesus in the daily box. Here are a few of the many ways we refer to Jesus: savior, messiah, friend, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel…. Use the Bible, Handel’s Messiah, Christmas carols, and hymns to uncover those names. Pray and ponder how that name for Jesus stirs, affects, annoys, delights, or inspires you.
8) Just color and doodle in the space. For smaller children, print the calendar on 11″x17″ paper to create larger spaces. (I do this for myself, too.) Teach them about Advent as a “one day at a time” journey. Light a battery-powered votive candle and give them a quiet, secret place to work.
Examples from Previous Years
Here are some examples from previous years, I created a Candle calendar for this year because I really liked the one I used in 2012. The entries were a hodgepodge of names and Advent words. It was the year of the Sandy Hook massacre and the shooting of a young female police officer with two children in Memphis where I lived. The candles were both a spiritual autobiography, a remembrance of historical events, and a visual intercessory prayer list. The examples include the blank templates and the final version at the end of Advent. There are also examples from 2020 and 2011.
Thanks to Cindy O for her 2011 calendars and for the Grid Calendar Template she created for this year.
It’s 1:32 pm and I’m about to go to sleep 😴, but decided to check my email. Thanks be to God, because He said “NOT YET’ so He sent me to my phone . Wow 😯 what a wide variety of activities and opportunities to make 2022 Advent activities much more Inviting and resourceful spiritually.
Gratitude , Love and blessings to all.
Beverley Findlay : Holy Family Church