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Advent2020NativityWelcome to Rotation.org's

Adapting Advent in 2020:
Worship, teaching, and celebrating Advent and Christmas
during the COVID pandemic"

a special resource forum at Rotation.org

We welcome your replies and contributions to these topics.

In most churches, preparation for Advent worship, teaching, and special programs begins early in the fall — offerings which in 2020 will be greatly impacted by the COVID pandemic.  Here in the U.S.A. where many of our Rotation.org members live, social-distancing will force most churches to rethink their traditional Advent worship and programming.

The picture may be further complicated by the traditional increase in worship attendance during Advent straining existing social-distancing measures, and by the need to continue to minister to members who choose to stay away from church events this year.

This will all take place during an already stressful year and a traditionally stressful time of year — made even more stressful by disruptions to family and community traditions, family gatherings, and travel restrictions (not to mention the economy, and elections in the U.S.A.). Many pastors are exhausted too. (See the article about creative exhaustion in the next post below.) All told, Advent 2020 presents us with creative, logistical, and pastoral challenges unlike anything we have faced in modern times.

Fortunately, Christian educators are used to getting creative and adapting, and often it is the challenges that change us for the better. We hope this forum will inspire your Advent planning and programming to meet this year's unique challenges as we prepare to welcome the Christ child, and we invite you to share your creative ideas.

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See all our lessons and ideas in our "regular" Advent forum!

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More related Advent 2020 "articles" below!

The image above is a modified version of photo
of a Nativity scene taken during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak in Naples Italy.

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Nathan Kirkpatrick:

It's time to talk about Advent in a pandemic

Read the article by Duke Divinity's Director of Leadership Education. It's terrific, especially for pastors and leaders.

By beginning conversations now about what Advent and Christmas online could look like, we can harness the imagination of our congregations.

Most of us will need that help. Almost every clergyperson and worship leader I have talked with in the last two months has described feeling exhausted, with little, if any, creative energy left.

We will need others to help us dream what’s possible and help us make it happen. As this year has proved, it takes the gifts of the whole church for us to be the church.

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England is Freaking Out About Christmas 2020

And it raises some serious pastoral concerns
for our kids, families, and older singles on this side of the pond.

When we started resourcing this "Celebrating Advent in 2020" forum, I ran into a TON of online news article in the U.K. about all their impending holiday "cancellations."  Among other things, I learned that England takes the Christmas season far more "seriously" than we do in the U.S.A.   In England, Advent is a non-stop season of parties and special community events and traditions. It made me realize that the wonderful Christmas movie "Love Actually" is actually a documentary.

It's expected that Advent 2020 here in the U.S. will have its share of pandemic disruptions and cancellations too. October Update: CDC and other health experts are now saying that "the next six weeks" which will take us up to the beginning of Advent 2020, will be the "darkest" pandemic days as the infection and hospitalization rates spike. Coupled with 2020's divisive election, Thanksgiving and Advent are likely going to be even more challenging and disrupted. Time to pray and prepare.

What will it mean especially for our children when...

They can't sit on Santa's lap.

Grandma and Grandpa aren't flying in to visit them.

Community Christmas activities are canceled.

Trips are canceled.

Family finances can't afford many gifts this year.

And there's no Christmas pageant at the church this year?

As a children's pastor, father, and grandfather, it concerns me. And it makes me aware of how important it will be this year to promote real "tidings of comfort and joy," and not just talk about it or pay lip service to it.

That's the spirit in which we created this Preparing for Advent 2020 forum. Christian educators are some of the most creative and flexible "idea" people I know. And right now, the church needs us, and our pastors need us. But most of all, our kids need us. Over the years we've been experimenting with a lot of different ways to involve kids, create interactive learning experiences, and help develop at-home learning and traditions. Perhaps all that experience has been in preparation "for just such a time as this."

Read the growing Advent 2020 forums here at Rotation.org. They're full of good ideas for pandemic-savvy celebrations.

Neil

P.S. Perhaps some of our members who experience a "blue" Christmas can be a great source of volunteer help this year. There's nothing like reaching out to help others to help one feel the embrace and comfort of God's Spirit.

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