Advent calendars are for children and adults! Instead of opening daily doors with pictures or retrieving small gifts or candies from pockets, mark the day-by-day journey to Christmas by daily praying/drawing with a calendar template. When I draw, color, and doodle my own Advent calendar, I feel like I’m building something rather than tearing it apart. It is a countUP to Christmas, not a countDOWN. The finished Advent calendar is a colorful reminder of what was in my head and on my heart each day. It is a record of my spiritual journey through Advent. Note: I like to enlarge the 8.5″x11″ format to 11″x17″ card stock. It gives me more room to doodle and color and consequently more time and space with the person or word.
Here are four Advent calendar templates in both .pdf and .jpg form. One of the calendars has already been “doodled”, so you can just color and pray. Click on the words .pdf or .jpg below the version/s you want. Download first; then print. Feel free to share these with others, for individually or groups.
Ways to Use the Calendar Template
1) In a space or shape on the calendar, write the name of someone for whom you are praying. 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 and color, pray them. Squeeze them onto the calendar in the shape or along the margins if they feel important. 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)
2) Read a daily Advent reflection or meditation. Choose a word from the reading that jumps out at you. Write it in the shape and start to doodle and color. Marinate in the word. What is the word saying to you? What does God have to say to you about the word? Listening + doodling+ coloring = praying. Keep a computer or notebook next to your calendar so you can write any insights or “ahas.”
3) Write and ponder an Advent word—–prepare, await, hope, pregnant, watch, darkness, longing,…—as you doodle and color.
4) Since Advent is a season of hope, write something you hope for each day. Offer that idea to God as you color and draw.
5) For smaller children, print the calendar on 11″x17″ paper and just let them color. Light a battery-powered votive candle and give them a quiet, secret place to work.
Here are examples of 2015 finished Advent Calendars:
Thanks to Cindy O. of Mostly Markers for creating the 2016 Box Calendar–with the oval in the center for Christmas Day. Notice her finished Box Calendar from 2015–the first one on the left.