2016 Advent Coloring Posters
Our 2016 Advent Coloring Posters give you and your community the chance to create a large art installation during this year's Advent season. With the event of Christ's birth at the center of the poster set, these five posters focus on different aspects of Jesus' life and ministry.
These large coloring posters are perfect for all ages, and can be used in your community during Advent to create opportunities for intergenerational programming and events.
Below are the some details you need to know, with more information following:
- Poster Details: When the posters are put together, the final size of the five posters is 10' wide and 6' tall. Four of the posters are the 4'x3' size, which is the size of last year's Advent posters. The fifth poster is 2' wide and 6' tall.
- Ordering: At this time, we only ship within the United States. However, we have found that many of our international customers and friends normally just purchase the digital files and then get them printed locally. Our posters are sized to be printed at 4'x3', but we recognize that is not a universally-recognized size, but the files can be edited to whatever other large size you need.
- Poster Prices:
- Physical Posters & Digital Files Bundle: $100 SOLD OUT
- Physical Posters Only: $80 SOLD OUT (for the second time)
- Digital Files Only: $50
When you purchase the digital files, you will immediately receive a download link to get your zip file. Detailed instructions will come with the download as to how to get the posters printed, but you will receive 7 digital files. Files 1-4 are the four main images that fit together like a puzzle. And for the fifth poster that is 2'x6', we have included both the entire image as one file, if you have the capability to print it off that large, as well as the image broken up into two separate posters, which can be printed on two 2'x3' posters. You have flexibility to use them whichever way works best for you and your context.
If you get the files printed somewhere like Staples, we recommend having them printed as engineering prints, as that is the most inexpensive option available.
Ideas for Using Our 2016 Advent Coloring Posters
After sharing about these posters on Facebook the past couple days, we've already heard some great ideas for how people are planning to use the posters. Here are some suggestions - but we hope you'll let your creativity run wild!
- Advent Fairs: We know many churches love to put on Advent Fairs at the beginning of the season, and we also know that many of the crafts are probably the same, year after year. Try something new this year, and put out the Advent Coloring Posters for people to work on at the event.
- Sunday School classes: Depending on the size of your church, have each Sunday School class work on a poster during Advent.
- Have different groups color them: Assign a different group in your church to each of the posters, and let each group contribute to the overall design. You could give posters to your children's ministry, youth group, women's Bible studies, men's group, after school kids program, staff at your church...the possibilities are endless. Or have the children start with them on Sunday morning, and then have other groups continue to work on finishing the posters throughout the week.
- As an activity for children during worship: Many churches have left these posters on a table or on the floor for children during the service, which has proven to be a fun way to keep them engaged in the service.
Again, these are just a few ideas...and we know that you can come up with more!
Theology Behind the Posters
These are a bit more elaborate than last year's Advent Coloring Posters, which simply focused on the traditional Advent words of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love. But we believe that these posters will not only create a beautiful (and large!) piece of artwork for your congregation, but they will also spark important conversations throughout Advent.
First, a few important notes:
- Inclusive Language: We strive to create all of our resources here at Illustrated Children's Ministry using inclusive language. We don't do this just to be politically correct, but because we believe it's important theologically to not continue to use only masculine and patriarchal language for a God who surpasses all of those categories.
- Inclusive Language in Isaiah 9:6 specifically: We love Handel's Messiah and because many of us grew up listening to that, or because we heard the King James Version of the text growing up in churches, we might be more familiar (and maybe more comfortable) with using the names of Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. However, because of our commitment to inclusive language we wanted to find a different translation for those names, which we did in the Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures. The names that we use in these posters are as follows: Wonderful Counselor, Strength of God, Eternal Protector and Champion of Peace.
Each poster corresponds to a different set of characters from the birth story and includes a different name from Isaiah 9:6 (with all of the names being wrapped around the candle in the fifth poster). I'll share a bit more about each poster below, but first, we think a brief theological note from Walter Brueggemann's newest book Names for the Messiah might be helpful:
"Christian have claimed from their beginnings that Jesus was the Messiah foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures...Jesus did not replace or deny the expectations of a messiah previously told. He fulfilled them...Isaiah 9:2-7 is a well-known oracle, a divine utterance...that uses four royal titles...As we ponder the use of those titles with reference to Christmas and the birth of Jesus, two things become clear. First, in the witness to Jesus by the early Christians in the New Testament, they relied heavily on Old Testament 'anticipations' of the coming Messiah. But second, Jesus did not fit those 'anticipations' very well, such that a good deal of interpretive imagination was required in order to negotiate the connection between the anticipation and the actual bodily, historical reality of Jesus.
The oracle of Isaiah 9:2-7 is well known among us because of Handel's Messiah. The oracle did not anticipate or predict Jesus. There is no doubt that it pertained to the eighth century BCE, the time of Isaiah the prophet. While the oracle might have been utilized to announce and celebrate the birth of a new royal prince in Jerusalem, namely Hezekiah, it is more probable that it pertained to the coronation of the new king." (Brueggemann, Walter. Names for the Messiah: an Advent Study.)
Okay, so that was more than a brief note, but we think it's helpful in framing how we are approaching these posters theologically. Now to a few details about each poster:
- Wonderful Counselor: The Magi (three wise men) are paired with the name Wonderful Counselor. The Magi were wise people and sought to learn from the stars. The verse that accompanies the image is "The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom." Being able to be a wonderful counselor is more than just attaining knowledge, or knowing the science of stars...but rather it is about something deeper: wisdom.
- Strength of God: The shepherds are paired with the name Strength of God. While you certainly would have to be strong and capable to be a shepherd, the image of a shepherd isn't what you would traditionally assume with names like Strength of God or Mighty God. But rather, because Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" - we should expect Jesus to turn things upside-down at times, and so we see the image of a shepherd being used to describe God.
- Eternal Protector: Mary and Joseph are paired with the name Eternal Protector. As they seek to parent and protect their newborn child, one of the ways we think about God is that of an eternal mother/father/parent. And yet, while God seeks to protect and watch over us, Jesus also wants to have a more intimate relationship with us than just standing above us and protecting us. Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me."
- Champion of Peace: Finally, the angels are paired with the name Champion of Peace. The angels came to announce Jesus' birth to the shepherds, and to bring a word of peace. And yet, Christ, who is the champion of peace, brings peace to us in ways that often surprise and confound us. Jesus says, "My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives."
Finally, the fifth poster depicts the celebration and announcement of the birth of the Christ child: "Joy to the world! For unto us, a child is born!" And then highlights the four names, along with Messiah, that wrap around the candle. We are excited to see the various ways that you can use these in your family or faith community, and we hope you'll continue to share with us photos and stories about how you use the posters.
What about 8.5x11 coloring sheets?
As we always do, we will make 8.5x11 versions of these coloring posters available. We will link to that product when it becomes available in our store. That product will include two versions - both a detailed version that matches these poster designs, but also a simplified design that will be more accessible for children who may want to color these at home. Either way - you'll be able to still create a larger final illustration by combining the 8.5x11 coloring sheets.
At this time, we only ship within the United States. We ship with UPS and our preferred method of shipping is to your church/business address. If you will be shipping to a church, please list that in the second line of your shipping address where it says "Church/Company." This enables us to have the best information to send to UPS. If UPS doesn't deliver to your church, or you'd prefer your home address used, that is fine, and just don't enter anything into the Church/Company text field.