Creating an Advent Banner

Since the Scripture readings for Advent are filled with vivid images, Advent banners are helpful in portraying these message in a colorful and powerfully symbolic way.

Always begin preparations for Advent by considering the Scripture lessons that will be read. Let's look at a specific passage that can be applied in a visual way through a banner.Several Advent lessons talk about preparing the way of the Lord. The path should be made straight, level, and smooth. This suggests a banner that shows a road beginning from a dark, rocky place that forces it through a torturous route. Gradually, the way becomes straighter and smoother until it is upgraded to the status of a highway for our Lord. This idea of progression can be presented in an especially effective way if the banner is made so that it moves each Sunday to reveal the next part of the road. Think of mounting the whole banner like a huge roller towel. Of course, a banner fixed in this way is stationary and can not be used as a processional banner. The same design of a road can be adapted to fit on an ordinary flat banner.

The road, at the beginning, twists and turns, doubles back on itself, and seems to make much little progress. The roughness of the terrain is suggested by stuffed, irregular shapes made of coarse, dark fabric in a variety of sizes. The shapes can be sewn and stuffed separately, then attached to the banner. These very dimensional elements gradually give way, in turn, to a quilted area with stitched furrows and ridges. Along the way, the road had become straighter and now has gentle curves. Finally, at the end of the journey, the road is straight, and the earth is flat and smooth.

The progression of the colors and textures is important in this banner. Begin with dark browns and grays, then change to middle-value browns, grays, and gray-greens. Continue with slightly more intense greens, and finally, use a light, clear yellow-green in a smooth, soft fabric like velour. If making a smooth color-and-value transition from grays and browns to greens is difficult, imagine that the whole road goes through a desert, and make the value transition from dark to light using only browns and grays. The suggestion of a village at the end of the road marks the arrival point and the end of the journey.

Adapted from The Services of the Christian Year, Abbott-Martyn Press, Nashville, TN. Used by permission.