The Church of England has released its official Advent calendar for 2023, which for the first time features interactive stickers, to help families learn the story of Christmas.
For many people, buying an Advent Calendar is an important part of the buildup to Christmas Day, but the tradition has become increasingly commercialised in recent years, by companies seeking Christmas publicity. The Church says it can be hard to find one that depicts the real story of Jesus’s birth.
More than just the usual ‘countdown to Christmas’ with a door to open each day in December, the CofE says its calendar offers a “creative and interactive experience focused on the Nativity.”
The brainchild of Clare Williams, Head of Schools & Family Learning at Norwich Cathedral, the fold-out crib scene includes pictures by children’s illustrator Charlotte Cooke.
A sticker for each of the 24 days in Advent can be added to the overall scene. A short story also accompanies each day, along with themed activities including a simple nativity play script for anyone wanting to act out the tale. A rhyming Nativity story sheet also gives people a catchy way to remember how – and why – Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem.
The calendar is part of the Church of England’s ‘Follow The Star’ campaign, which also features a brand new Christmas Carol by composer Bob Chilcott which will be sung by choirs across the country, together with daily reflections through until early January when the church celebrates Ephiphany and the end of the Christmas season.
Launching the calendar, The Bishop of Stockport, Sam Corley said: “We hope people and families will connect with the great joy and mystery of Advent in a fun and interactive way. They can also discover anew their place in the greatest story ever told, and how the earth-shattering arrival of God to earth in the birth of Jesus Christ is Good News for us, and for all the world.”