Reflecting on who we think Christ is as a way to help prepare for Christmas is an ancient tradition.

Advent Unwrapped
Credit: The United Church of Canada
Published On: October 25, 2019

If you are wondering why we are sending out Advent material when it is still October, it is because we know many of you are worship planners already looking several weeks ahead, and we hope these messages might be helpful as you plan for Advent!

This year the Advent Unwrapped videos are all about Jesus—he is the reason for the season, after all.

We were inspired by the popularity of last year’s Watching and Waiting: A Daily Vigil Based on the O Antiphons, which focuses on the ancient tradition of singing and praying the ancient biblical names for the Christ also known as the Great O’s, leading up to his arrival on Christmas Day.

Even though doing so is not commonly practised in the United Church, signs of the O Antiphons can be detected in our stained glass (look for symbols like keys or morning stars) and our hymnals (the first hymn in Voices United, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” is based on the Great O’s). Because the Advent Unwrapped team loves this ancient tradition of reflecting on who we think Christ is as a way to help prepare for Christmas, we wanted to present this centuries-old tradition in a new way. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Some ideas on how to use this year’s videos:

  • Play them with this year’s Advent Candlelighting Liturgies: Who Do You Say Jesus Is?
  • Play a video each week during Advent during the prelude.
  • Use a video as a discussion starter in church school.
  • Wrap boxes with different symbols that represent different names for Jesus inside. Open and discuss them in your children’s time before playing the video and lighting the Advent candle.
  • Use the last video on your Christmas Sunday or Christmas Eve celebration.

(The script for each 2019 video is in its description. Click a video in the playlist, then scroll down to see its “Who is Jesus?” description/script.)

If you are new to Advent Unwrapped, check out our 2017 videos that explore the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love and the 2018 videos that tell the Christmas story from various characters’ perspective.

Prepping with you,

—Alydia Smith is Program Coordinator—Worship, Music, and Spirituality at the General Council Office

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