The season of Advent is approaching, and the Confident Disciples team asked some clergy in the Diocese of London what resources or practices they have used personally or with their congregations in recent years.

Advent is that period of quiet reflection intended to prepare our hearts and lives for the coming of Christ and the twelve-day feast of Christmas. Of course, our culture subverts this pattern – frantically celebrating the feast throughout December and running out of steam by Boxing Day! With all this busyness, many clergy reflected that regrettably Advent is a difficult time to run a course or do anything extra. But are there ways that we can use this time to slow down amid all the busyness and remember that Christ has come, and He is coming again?

Advent resources can be integrated into the usual patterns and practices of parish life. Last year, one church in North London used the Church of England’s Advent reflections as part of Morning and Evening Prayer. This year the national church is mainly providing resources for the Christmas season but there are some beautiful Advent reflections that could be tailored for use:
From our American cousins, The Advent Project at Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts.
And closer to home, St Martin’s in the Fields’ collaboration with the National Gallery, Inspire to Follow.

The London Jesuit Centre are offering a week of guided prayer online from 4-11 December.

Poetry and Art can be enriching resources for daily personal devotion with books by Malcolm Guite and Janet Morley cited as well as the reflections of Jane Williams.

For existing groups or personal reading there are some wonderful new short books to recommend:

Sally Welch’s Sharing the Christmas Story. Described by Margaret Silf as ‘a genuine treasure.’

The Archbishop of York’s Advent Book, Sleepers Awake – getting serious about climate change by Nicholas Holt.

And for deeper reading, The First Advent in Palestine by Kelly Nikondeha – an illuminating take on what the Gospels can teach modern Christians about conflict in contemporary Palestine.

Perhaps the foremost question we could ask as we approach the gift of Advent amid the busyness of December is not ‘what could we start?’ but ‘how might we stop?’ That we might rest in the unsurpassable beauty, mystery, and miracle of the Word made flesh.


Confident Disciples: we seek to encourage and equip one another to grow in confidence as disciples in the everyday places where we live and work.