Advent begins on November 29th and you now have less than 30 days to plan your social media posts for this very fertile time for the Catholic Church. A few weeks after Pope Francis' visit where he inspired millions of Non-Catholic and estranged Catholics too. This season could be the biggest season of Advent we've seen in decades.
So here are some great ideas for you to share on your social media sites to create anticipation and excitement of the coming of the Savior into the world.
Choose the pictures that you will post as your cover and profile picture during the advent season. 1) Take five pictures of the advent wreath with a different candle lit in each one and write over each picture a description of what each candle represents. (Use Picture Editing Tools like Canva, PicMonkey or Instagram to do this) Then Post the appropriate picture each week. 2) The first week post the wreath with one candle lit and on subsequent weeks post pictures of the congregation lighting the candle and use the advent wreath pictures as the profile picture. The better idea would be to shoot video of the congregation lighting their candles during mass and posting it. 3) Shoot a behind the scenes video of the church's transformation from ordinary time to the beauty of purple and gold during Advent. From the decoration of the altar and sanctuary to the priests vestments. Give parishioners a real idea of the time and money put into the decorating the church by the volunteers, hopefully it inspires participation and bigger donations. 4) Create a video message from your pastor that helps parishioners really focus on the expectation of the birth of Christ and that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"
Set a Theme That Has a Message Around Anticipation! Maybe a Focus on Specific Words in The Scriptures of the Season for Daily Messages. Create a Hashtag Around a Project Like #ChistinChristmas, Then Encourage Church Members to Share Pictures or Video of How Their Family is Focused on Christ vs. The Commercialism of the Secular World Using the Hashtag. The Most Fertile Post Have Pictures and Video.
Personify the Christmas Songs "Joy to the World" is one of the most popular hymns of the season. The refrain "Let Heaven and Nature Sing..." is the focus of this tip. Encourage families to go to the local garden or home store and have them plant an Amaryllis plant. If planted on the first few days of Advent it will bloom in the later days of the season or one of the 12 days of Christmas. It teaches kids patience and creates a sense of anticipation!
Have Your Choir Record Christmas Carols and Post Them. This Can Easily Be Done Using Cool Tools Like Sound Cloud and Audioboo! So Get It Done Now, So They Are Ready In Time For Posting.
Share a List of Charities or Ways That As a Family You Give to Those Less Fortunate. Easiest For Me Every Year is to Take Advantage of the Buy One Get One Free Turkey Deals That Grocers Offer - And Give One Away to a Shelter!
Create Activity Stations Each Week in the Hall and Post Pictures of Families Being Interactive
STATION 1: CONNECTING
– Copies of Luke 2:1-20 & Matthew 2:1-11
– Traditional Nativity Set
– Crayons / Markers
Read the Nativity Story from Luke 2:1-20 & Matthew 2:1-11.
Spend some time looking at the Nativity Scene and reflecting on the passage you just read. Although this event occurred over 2,000 years ago, we all play a major role in this story. And although we were not physically present, we still can connect to this scene.
Think about which character in this scene you identify with most at this point in your life: the expectant mom, the worried father, the lowly shepherds, the traveling magi, the animals wondering at the spectacle happening in their stable…
Use the paper, scissors, and markers provided to create a figurine of yourself. You can draw your likeness or simply cutout a figure and write your name on it. Then place it in the Nativity Scene as a way of symbolically connecting yourself to the story and entering into the mystery of the Advent season.
STATION 2: FOCUSING
– Wrapped Box (with an opening on top)
Often it is easy for us to lose sight of the true meaning of the Christmas season. We are bombarded by mixed messages of what this time of year is all about. These distractions can, at times, make it difficult to focus on our faith and connection to God.
Spend a few moments naming some of the distractions that keep you from focusing on God and your relationship with Christ. These distractions might include worries, stress, issues you may have with family or friends or other relationships, or everyday things like school, sports, TV, video games and the like.
Then, using the note cards and pens, write down your list of distractions and place them inside the wrapped package. Think of this as a gesture of letting go of the things that hold you back. Now spend a moment considering how you can use this freedom to deepen your connection to God and focus on Him this Advent season.
STATION 3: PRAYING
– Strips of Red & Green Paper (to make a paper chain)
– Roll of Tape
Take a moment to consider the names of people, places, or causes you would like to lift up in prayer. As these names come to your mind, write them down on a strip of green or red paper. Then, use the tape to connect your strips as loops to the existing chain as a way of connecting your prayers with the prayers of others.
STATION 4: SEEING
– Various Digital Images of the Nativity Story
– Digital Picture Frame or Use Flipagram
Get into a comfortable position and spend some time looking at the images of the nativity and incarnation story. Admire the artistic interpretation of these scenes and imagine the thoughts and emotions of both the artist as he created the piece and also the subjects he was depicting.
As the images scroll, meditate on the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of that very first Christmas where God showed up in the form of a tiny baby.
STATION 5: WISHING
– Santa Claus Figurine or Image
– Mailbox (can be purchased from any hardware store)
Think back to when you were a young child and you wrote letters to Santa (if you never did… pretend). Think about the excitement and hope you had as you wrote to him, anxiously wishing for the things you wanted.
With those same emotions in mind, write a letter to God, sharing your wishes. Share your hopes and fears, your joys and sorrows. For years you may have put your hope in Santa Claus to bring you what you were wishing for. Now put your hope in God, the true Giver of all good gifts. When you have finished writing your letter to God, fold and seal it in an envelope and place it in the mailbox.
Finally, offer up prayer to God, thanking Him for all that He has already given to you and for all that He will continue to provide.
STATION 6: WAITING
– Post-It Notes
Advent is a time of anticipation and waiting. During this season we eagerly await the birth of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. For hundreds of years God’s people anxiously awaited the promised Savior and we, as Christians today, anxiously await his return.
What are you waiting for this Advent season? Take a moment to consider that question. Then, write your answer on a Post-It note and stick it on the wall.
What do you think God is waiting for this Advent season? Take a moment to consider that question. Then, write your answer on a Post-It note and stick it on the wall.
STATION 7: PONDERING
– Votive Candles
– 4 Signs that read: “Hope” “Peace” “Love” “Joy”
Each Sunday in Advent focuses on one of the following theme words: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. These words remind of the gifts Jesus Christ will bring to the world.Take a few moments to ponder which of those gifts— Hope, Peace, Joy, or Love— you need most in your life right now. And which of those gifts do you feel you are most called by God to share with others in their lives right now?
As you ponder those things, light a candle place it by the gifts you identified— Hope, Peace, Joy, or Love. (You can sell the candles and use the proceeds to give to the poor)Finally, offer up a prayer to God, asking Him to bless you with the gifts you need and those with which you need to share with others. Jesus Loves for Us to Turn to Him Rather Than Our Own Devices.
Share With Your Followers 10 Gifts That You May Give to Jesus and break them up into single posts over 10 Days Like I will do starting today.
Develop a Humble Heart by Offering Prayers, Fasting, Counting Blessing and being Thankful for them, Offering Weaknesses to the Lord (Ether 12:27) and Stop Comparing Yourself to Others as YOU are Perfect Just the Way You Were Created! Personal tip for building my humility - when receiving communion I whisper "Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like your heart" it works for me!
Confess and Repent of a Sin That Separates You From Jesus.
Volunteer Your Time, Talent or Treasure With Someone Who Needs it. At My Parish American Martyrs Catholic Community We Choose a Family From Our Much Poorer Sister Parish and Buy Them Grocery Store Gift Cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner, Then Buy Gifts For the Children of the Family. It makes us feel like we are really giving of our time and treasure.
Pray With Sincerity Everyday. There Are Many Ways to Pray - During Such a Busy Time The Easiest Way to Do It Is to Download an App. My Fave is MyParish App right here on Facebook. You Could Also Post an Advent Prayer and Post it to the Top or Post a New One Each Day.
Read The Scriptures. Again the Easiest Way to Get this Done is to Download an App - Here is a Link to an Article That List 5 Apps to Help Your Parishioners Get It Done!
One of the Coolest Gifts You Can Give Jesus is to Reflect on What is Shared at Mass. The Dynamic Catholic Institute offers a Mass Journal to Help. Setting a Goal to Find Something in the Scripture or Homily to Reflect on is a Great Way for Families to Share.
Gifts To Give Jesus
Focus on Your Faith In the Face of Adversity or a Trial. Offer Three Novena's or Offer Decades of the Rosary For these Situations.
Seek Opportunities to Learn More About How to Live a More Catholic Christian Life. Start With Reading "The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic", Watching EWTN, Listening to Catholic Radio or Podcasts, Attend a Retreat, Attend Presentations Your Parish Hosts or Subscribe to Catholic Newspapers.
Fasting For Someone Else or Something That You Struggle With Like Forgiveness, Pride, Judgement or More General Things Like Families, Priestly Vocations, Environental Issues, etc.
Give Thanks to God in ALL Things! Every Sunday We Hear "The Mass Has Ended Go In Peace to Love And Serve the Lord" Then We Respond "Thanks be to God!" We Walk Out of Church and Leave That Thankfulness Until We Return. Be Aware of Opportunities to Verbalize "Thanks be to God" in Our Contemporary Lives. I Say it so Much My Husband (non-Catholic) Does It Too!
Have You Ever Listened to the EWTN Radio Show with Jerry and Debbie? Just Found It! This Episode Is All About Keeping the "Christ" in Christmas. This is an Easy Share to Be Posted the First Week of Advent! http://ow.ly/Tw1dv