The story behind Advent Calendars . . .

The first known Advent Calendar was hand-made in 1851, just less than a century before I was born, and now here I am in my 70s happily producing an online version. I find it comforting to realise that no matter how fast the world changes, God’s truths and purposes, as revealed in Scripture, are constant and unchanging; and that no matter how traditional or up-to-the-minute our mind set may be, the revelation of the Incarnation is always fresh and relevant as the Christmas season returns through the years.

You could consider this as a continuation of a tradition that began in the mid-19th century when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count the days leading up to Christmas, which in turn led to the first printed Advent Calendars appearing in the early 1900s. Today, sadly, they have become just part of the great commercial Christmas counterfeit that somehow manages to madly celebrate the occasion and yet leaves God and the Christ Child completely out of the picture.

So this is our gentle attempt, with the help of family and friends, to rectify the situation and produce a traditional Advent Calendar in the modern vernacular. The framework for the calendar is the Jesse Tree which (according to Wikipedia) “is a depiction in art of the ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David and is the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus. The various figures depicted in the lineage of Jesus are drawn from those names listed in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.” we have a second online Advent Calendar, started two years ago for schools and families for York Diocese. If you want to have a look at that go to advent-calendar.online and choose the ‘York’ option – you will see an interactive nativity scene where children can search for and click on the number for the day.

We invite you to draw aside from the hustle and bustle or our modern lives, for a short time each day in December, to look back over the scriptures that lead us to the wondrous events of that night long ago in Bethlehem and prepare yourself for the coming of our Saviour.

Lesley and Michael Wells
December 2021