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A greener advent on the calendar

December 4, 2013:

A nativity scene in Havana, Cuba

For Christians Christmas is the annual commemoration of the birth of the Messiah - Jesus - in Palestine some 2,000 years ago, and the four weeks leading up to it are traditionally a time of penitence and anticipation known as Advent ('the coming').

Recent years however, have seen Advent and Christmastide become dominated by consumer consumption, much of it excessive, with the Christian story increasingly lost in a whirl of shopping, eating and drinking. This wastefulness of the planet's resources is doubly challenging for those Christians concerned about the way humanity takes care of creation.

There are some useful resources that can help Christians, congregations and preachers reclaim the spirit and purpose of Advent and, indeed, make it a time for mindfulness about the need to use this world's bounty with wisdom.

Each year in the UK we use enough wrapping paper at Christmas to reach to the moon.
Making a green Advent calendar
A helpful set of instructions by Judith Allinson on the Green Christian website with plenty ideas of themes and content get children thinking.

Green Advent 'pointers' for preachers
The Christian Ecology website has a week by week calendar based on the common worship lectionary and using the set texts as the basis for environmentally-focused contemplation.

Reclaim Christmas!
A rousing campaign from Operation Noah, a Christian action group focused on climate change, urging 'Prophets not Profits!' There's a helpful page about how to reclaim Christmas in your community, including links to special hymns and prayers and a child-friendly script for a play that young people could perform appropriately titled 'A Present for the Future'

Advent and Ecology liturgy
ARC devised this Advent Creation Liturgy for use in a service at St George's Chapel, Windsor and many congregations have since been able to use all or part of it as part of their own Advent worship.

Over 500 tonnes of Christmas 'fairy' lights are thrown away every year.
HRH Prince Philip's environmental sermon for Advent
In 1988, not long after the famous Assisi Declarations, the founder of ARC, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip gave an important sermon at St George's Chapel, Windsor, with the inspiring theme: "Christians need to use the annual celebration of the birth of our Lord as an inspiration to become better and more considerate guardians of His Creation, so that its beauties and wonder, whether they are practically useful to us or not, can continue to praise Him."

Ready Steady Slow!
An on-line video advent calendar from the Church of England with inspiring daily messages encouraging Christians to slow down and reflect during Advent.

If all the glass jars and bottles that are thrown out at Christmas were recycled instead it would be equivalent to taking 1300 cars off the road for a whole year.
Facts about Christmas in the blue boxes come courtesy of Veolia Environmental Services Green Advent Calendar which offers lots of tips to be greener and healthier this Christmas

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December 4, 2013:
A greeer advent on the calendar
Faced with the annual flood of consumption and waste, as well as celebration, Christians can still find the traditional meaning of Advent...
What does Christianity teach about ecology?
The basic environmental beliefs of Christianity.
The Christian Declaration on Nature - Assisi 1986
The original Christian Declaration on Nature was created in 1986, at a meeting held in Assisi by WWF-International. It stemmed from an idea by HRH the Prince Philip, at which five leaders of the five major world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism – were invited to come and discuss how their faiths could help save the natural world.