Tidings of Comfort and Joy? Reconsidering advent in a time of crisis

28 November, 2022

The period leading up to Christmas is usually one of excitement and joy. With the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, uncertainty in the political life of the nation, and other factors, this year, may feel less joyous than usual for many families and individuals.

This one-evening panel event is an opportunity to reflect on and reconsider Advent/Christmas in such a peculiar atmosphere. Come alone or with members of your family or Church.

In addition to the event, we will provide a resource booklet that groups or individuals may wish to use to facilitate ongoing reflection over the period of Advent. Drawing together Scripture, prayer, poetry, reflections and actions, the resource booklet will offer a way to keep the conversation going and create space to explore the themes more fully among your own community. It would be ideal as a guide for a short series of home group sessions. An overview of the Booklet content can be found at the bottom of this page.


This event is held in person at the Queen’s Foundation Chapel and live-streamed as a webinar for those at distance. Tickets are available for a suggested price of £5 to cover some of our costs. Please note that free tickets are also available for those who can not currently afford the suggested contribution.

If you would like to receive the resource booklet and a recording of the event, please see our Patreon Page


Resource Booklet overview

Both the event on 28th of November and the accompanying resource booklet will consider Advent from four different themes and perspectives: Waiting, Displacement, Surprise and Living in the Tension. Each will have its own section in the booklet containing an opening reflection or passage, a prayer or poem, an act of individual or group reflection and a task to take forward. An outline of the material in the sections can be seen below:

1. Not just the warmup act: comfort and joy in waiting?
Sometimes, the Church can be guilty of treating Advent like the pre-cursor to the main event. Here, we will think about Advent as a season in its own right, not just a preparation for something else. How can we take the opportunity to practise active waiting? Not just passing the time before Christmas but taking seriously our responsibility to long; to yearn for what the world should be like.

2. ‘(Not) far from home? Comfort, joy and displacement
In many cultures, the advent season is full of pressure to either go home, be at home or create home for others. For lots of us this is not easy or possible for a variety of reasons. But what if homecoming isn’t about sofa-beds, place settings and Christmas films? Here, we’ll suggest that Christian discipleship understands homecoming as practising transient, longing, faith – learning to live in the not-there-yet which is also life in all its fulness. How can advent help us actively embrace our displacement?

3. Surprise happenings: re-thinking the cost of comfort and joy
The COVID pandemic has meant that the last few Winters have been defined by loneliness for many. The cost-of-living crisis may see this one defined by cold and poverty. What does the message of advent sound like to those who must choose between eating and heating? How do we wait well while hungry, anxious and concerned?

4. Comfort and joy in disguise: living in the tension between consolation and desolation
At the heart of the Christmas story is a surprising and easy-to-miss reality. God didn’t come to us in a way that anyone expected or many would have chosen. How can we embrace the fundamentally surprising nature of advent? How do we learn to fully embrace our surprising God’s coming without underestimating how difficult it can be when we don’t know what we’re looking for or how to move forward.

If you would like to receive the resource booklet and a recording of the event, please see our Patreon Page

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