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Embracing God’s Creation: An Advent Calendar for Families

Advent is a time for preparing your heart for the coming of Jesus. It is traditionally a time of hope and of honoring family traditions. This Advent, we challenge you and your family to prepare your hearts for the ongoing work of caring for creation. We hope this Advent calendar will help you and your family learn, pray, and serve together as active disciples caring for our common home.

Download a printable PDF calendar


Sunday, November 27
Pray: Reflect on a prayer for clean water for the thirsty, inspired by Matthew 25:35.


Monday, November 28
Listen and Respond: Explore Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ encyclical focused on integral ecology.  Or watch a child-friendly video summarizing Francis’ call.


Tuesday, November 29
Learn: Use your address to determine the health of your local watershed through the Environmental Protection Agency site.


Wednesday, November 30
Support Sustainable Businesses: Permaculture is a fun way to reduce the amount of water you need to grow food! Check out the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute to learn more about this style of agriculture, and then consider buying some edible native plants for your garden in the spring.


Thursday, December 1
Advocate: The water crisis and climate change are interconnected with environmental justice, impacting the most marginalized.  Use the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s Ecology Talking Points to contact your legislators by mail, email, or phone. You can find your Representative here and your Senators here.

Friday, December 2

Discern: Pray the Ecological Examen together.


Saturday, December 3
Act: Do a fun activity with your children or grandchildren to teach them about water pollution, available here! And/or go pay a visit to the Mill Creek Alliance and learn how you can volunteer to clean up Cincinnati’s main watershed.

Sunday, December 4
Pray: Reflect on A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation from Laudato Si’, then reflect on our role in this world as stewards of creation.


Monday, December 5
Listen and Respond: Watch the Kiss the Ground documentary on Netflix, or another agricultural documentary, and try to go meatless for a day.


Tuesday, December 6
Learn: Explore the Co-Op Cincy website and learn what they are doing to address food insecurity here in Cincinnati.


Wednesday, December 7
Support Sustainable Businesses: Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) is a great way to support local farmers. Search the CORV guide or Edible Ohio Valley’s interactive map for a CSA that might work for you and your family!


Thursday, December 8
Advocate: Bread for the World will be advocating for equity and sustainability in the 2023 Farm Bill. Sign up for their email list to be involved!

Friday, December 9

Discern: Pray the Ecological Examen together.


Saturday, December 10
Act: Make a map of your spring vegetable garden, then review some seed catalogs together. (Try Fedco, a cooperative endeavor, or Johnny’s Selected Seeds, employee-owned, with several organic varieties). If you don’t have the space to grow your own food, check out ways to support a local effort like Bellarmine’s NEXUS Community Garden.

Sunday, December 11
Pray: Reflect on A Prayer for the Earth from Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home by Pope Francis.


Monday, December 12
Listen and Respond: Watch this OnBeing video of Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things, and then go outside to experience that peace.


Tuesday, December 13
Learn: Read this short article from America Magazine and this one from Commonweal too, both focused on Laudato Sì and the theme of interconnectedness. If inspired, journal for a a while on this theme.


Wednesday, December 14
Support Sustainable Businesses: Join a Green Lotus Yoga class, Vitality yoga class, or a Cincinnati Parks outdoor yoga session (when it’s warmer!) to meditate on the interconnectedness of earth and spirit.


Thursday, December 15
Advocate: Faith Communities Go Green is our local interfaith effort to address ecological concerns. Join their email list to be up to date on upcoming local efforts!


Friday, December 16
Discern: Pray the Ecological Examen together.


Saturday, December 17
Act: Take a walk with your family. Along your way, pause and engage in a Blessing of the Earth

Sunday, December 18
Pray: Reflect on Psalm 23 and its message of hope.


Monday, December 19
Listen and Respond: Listen to High, Low and Inbetween by Townes Van Zandt. Make a list of other music that grounds you in hope then listen to it.


Tuesday, December 20
Learn: Many communities, including Bellarmine Chapel, have made historic commitments to becoming Laudato Si’ parishes and schools, submitting plans to the Vatican earlier this year. Check out Bellarmine Chapel’s plan to see what inspiration you might take from it!


Wednesday, December 21
Support Sustainable Businesses: Gather your hard to recycle materials to bring to the Recycling and Reuse Hub in the new year.  See their list of accepted materials online.

Thursday, December 22

Advocate: Sign up for email alerts from the Catholic Climate Covenant, a leading Catholic voice combating climate change.


Friday, December 23
Discern: Pray the Ecological Examen together.


Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
Act: Take this day and tomorrow to be with your family, to appreciate the presence of those closest to you. Give hugs and share laughter with those you love. Share something you learned this advent too!


Sunday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
Celebrate the Birth of Christ, Incarnate in Creation!

Hopefully, this is not the end of your journey towards caring for creation. You can explore more resources for your journey on the Bellarmine Chapel Healthy Earth Team Resource page.

This calendar was organized by the Cincinnati Jesuit Family as part of our Embracing God’s Creation series.  The Cincinnati Jesuit Family includes Bellarmine Chapel, St. Xavier Church, St. Xavier High School, the Xavier University Institute for Spirituality and Social Justice, the Jesuit Spiritual Center, and Xavier Jesuit Academy.  The series will continue in the new year!  Contact Bellarmine Chapel’s Director of Sustainability and Social Mission, Tim Severyn, to be involved.