Monday, November 19, 2012

A Meaningful Advent Calendar

I'm humbled by the positive response to this Advent calendar! Thanks for your interest, but the free download was only available for a limited time. You can still purchase it through my Etsy store.

I'm not sure which is my favorite holiday, Christmas or Easter. However, one can't deny that when it comes to the seasons leading up to these most holy days in the church calendar, Advent's got Lent a little beat as far as "fun" and "warm feelings" go. Am I right? All my life I've been a real sucker for Christmas, but it wasn't until several years ago that I began to truly enjoy the season of Advent...the intentional waiting, preparing, and thinking on the most amazing, crazy idea that God came to this world to be one of us.

I have a huge soft spot for liturgy and church symbolism. I also have a growing distain for much of the Christian "art" that is out there, and I'd like to play my part in stopping its spread. Since I couldn't find the calendar I was dreaming up, I decided to create my own for my family this year. For the last month or two finding the right scripture, the right activity, and creating the right design for each of the 28 days has been a real labor of love. It's finally complete and printed, hung by the fireplace, and waiting for Wednesday, November 28, to let the games begin! Here are some of my favorites... Christmas gift to you this year, dear reader, is sharing this Advent calendar with you (the print-yourself-version at least) for FREE for a limited time! I'd love to charge a pretty penny for all the work I put into it, but I'm not about to be a Grinch and hinder anyone from experiencing the Advent season in a new and intentional way this year: a way that goes beyond a daily piece of cheap chocolate, or a little gifty trinket that may soon be forgotten (not that I won't also probably buy the cheap chocolate one).

Each day has a 4x6 card with a seasonal design on the front by yours truly and a back with the day's summary, Bible verse, and suggested corresponding activity (concept inspired by this). Many of the activities are simple and won't take much work and some days are a little bigger, but each is intended to prepare our hearts for Christmas (day 1) and intentionally experience the season of Advent, filled with waiting and wonder. We used clothespins to attach each card to one string of twine and hung it up by the mantle, but you could hang it down the stair rail, as a decoration somewhere else, or come up with some other way to display/use it.

No matter how you spend your holiday season, I hope that you'll find time for quiet, coziness, and togetherness with the ones you love, and that you'll take time to ponder and behold God's love for the world. Please download the calendar and enjoy using it this season and for Advent seasons to come!
Download FREE Calendar
Thanks for your interest, but the free download was only available for a limited time. You can still purchase it through my Etsy store (see link below).
Please note that the file is large and may take a minute to download. If you are printing this yourself, I recommend 110# cardstock, which you can find at your local office supply store. This paper weight may be too thick for your home printer, but you can have it printed double-sided at Office Max, Kinkos, etc. If you end up using the calendar, I'd love to hear how you set it up or how it worked for you.
Order Printed Calendar

If you are interested in purchasing an already-cut, professionally printed version of this Advent calendar, you can use the link above to order it through my Etsy shop. Be sure to order by this Monday at the latest in order to get it before Advent begins. If you work at a church and are interested in ordering copies for multiple families in larger quantities, contact me at sarahondrey(at) and I can hook you up ASAP!
Copyrights & Fine Print
This calendar is copyrighted 2012 by Sarah Johnson. Please use it to enjoy the season, but do give credit where and if credit is due! Biblical texts were taken from the New International Version (NIV) or New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). There are four cards with backgrounds that I did not create, and those are Day 2 - painting by Gerard van Honthorst, “Adoration of the Shepherds”; Day 9 - Colliers Magazine, illustrator unknown, December 1955; Day 10 - Painting by Guido Reni, “Adoration of the Shepherds”; and Day 12 - Illustrator/woodcarver unknown. Three days were inspired by other artists and they are Day 7 - Dustin Wallace; Day 23 - Joe Cavazos; and Day 25 - Nathan Strandberg and Katie Kirk.


Krissa said...

Thanks Sara! This is awesome. I passed it along to a bunch of sahm friends and they LOVE it too.

Krissa said...

And of course I meant Sarah. :)

nicole said...'s beautiful. You are so talented. I'm pretty sure Sam already bought it. I'm so glad we could support you and your talents. Oh, I'll have to send you a picture of my vision of how it's going to hang :) And yes, it does involve pallet wood. I'm addicted.

Sarah said...

Thanks so much Nicole and Krissa...looking forward to seeing how you'll display it Nicole!

Marie said...

Hi Sarah-
Thank you for creating this and sharing it so generously! I printed out the calendar this weekend and I keep flipping through it looking at all the lovely images. I'm trying not to read the backs of the cards so that I'll have a surprise waiting for me every day. I've been looking for something like this for years! I found your site through Jeanne Olson and I've shared it with several friends. Thanks again, and I hope you and your family have a very happy Christmas.
-Marie White

Joshua said...

Thanks, Sarah! I'm printing one for me and passing two along. This really is a gift!

Rachel said...

um, this is incredible. I was looking for something exactly like this. creative AND scripture based but not the traditional "three references at the bottom of the page".... YAY! just ordered a copy and so excited to get using it.

Beth Cupitt said...

these are just awesome! thank you! i just ordered from the etsy shop. i know i'll be a few days behind, but still! i'll be blogging about them on the give1save1 africa blog tomorrow too!

Michael-Sarah-Greta-Calla-Samuel said...

sarah- this is just wonderful! loving this advent calendar, and i've shared it with our church small group- what a blessing! thanks for sharing!!! :)