Advent Blocks were created in the fall of 2019 with the hope of creating a dynamic, physical, and Bible-centered anticipation of Christmas.
The idea began in 2018, when Clayton's daughter Cara said, “Mom and Dad, you say that Christmas is all about Jesus, but it feels like Christmas is all about presents."
Eleven months later, Clayton and Kristen began to dream about how to make their next Christmas different.
The idea was simple: Create blocks that physically showed Jesus getting closer to us each day of the 25 days leading up to Christmas. On Day 1, the blocks would sit in a line, with numbers 1–25 facing out. Each day the family would read a story at bedtime and turn a block, revealing an image that represented the story. Noah –> Boat. Marking their place, a Baby Jesus Block would move along the top of the other blocks, getting closer to December 25 every day. On top of December 25 stood a block with a picture of the earth. The meaning of Christmas in visual form—Jesus coming to earth.
The blocks created a visual anticipation, but we needed more. We needed a refrain that was repeated each day, something the kids would learn and repeat with us at the end of each story.
Enter the Pappalardo family and the author of the Advent Blocks stories, Chris. Chris dashed off a simple refrain. Then he began writing short, character-based stories from Scripture, all of which showed the theme of God's presence (and his absence) throughout the Bible—the very theme that Christmas celebrates. Some days he was literally writing in the morning what he and Clayton would read to their kids in the evening.
A few other families wanted to participate. So we created a few more sets on the fly.
This year, Brian Turney (Clayton’s friend from Denver) is designing the blocks. Clayton is screen printing and sourcing them in mass quantities. Chris has edited and refined the stories. Lindsey Love is working with the team to tell the story in video form.
Now you are here! And if you have read this far, you are ready purchase one today. Let’s create a practice for our families that will center us on God this Christmas by helping our kids—and us— anticipate the 25th for more than presents. Namely, let’s anticipate Jesus!