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The Church’s popular Advent calendar is soon to arrive

21.11.2023, 11:26
‘In our challenging times, the hope this calendar instils is indispensable.’
Seurakuntein joulukalenteri 2023

This year’s Advent calendar looks playfully traditional and is all about joy.

The Lutheran Church in the Helsinki region is releasing its traditional Advent calendar in Finnish, Swedish, and English across print and social media. Now in its eighth year, the calendar has become a cherished and eagerly awaited part of the Advent season for many.

This year’s theme is joy. Amidst the shadows of anxiety and uncertainty, sharing messages of joy, hope, and love is vital for our well-being.

‘In our challenging times, the hope this calendar instils is indispensable. Each door reveals something to hold dear and remember, offering the finest kind of comfort for the soul’, one feedback from last year emphasises.

The style of the Advent calendar illustration is playfully traditional this year

This year’s front cover features a collage-like illustration. The designer, Sari Pelho, describes the style as playfully traditional. ‘Advent and Christmas prompt us to unwind and find joy in the little things. I have sought to capture this sentiment without losing a sense of fun’, Pelho says, wishing for the calendar to kindle smiles and the recognition of joy in the unexpected.

"I hope that the Advent calendar gives space for all emotions."

Hanna Kivisalo, the author of this year's Finnish texts, reflects on her writing process as intuitive and stress-free, channelling joy into each word. ‘Humour is a crucial coping mechanism. Without it, the Church would miss out greatly. My aspiration is for the texts to evoke laughter, tears, and peace, embracing the full spectrum of emotions.’

Maria Sundblom Lindgren has provided the texts for the Swedish


The English Advent calendar reaches out to the whole international community

The English version is the collective work of Anna Poutiainen, Tomi Ahonen, and Minna Njumbe Njikang from St. Matthew’s International Lutheran Church in Helsinki. Their texts mirror the Finnish and Swedish versions' playful spirit but emphasise the greater joy inherent in the traditional Christmas story: ‘Today, a Saviour has been born to you!’ Hans Krause offers a modern and easy-to-read English rendition of the Christmas Gospel on the calendar's back.

The Advent calendar is a gift

The Church Advent calendar is a gift from the Lutheran parishes of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, and Kauniainen to their members. It is tailored for adults but will delight the entire family.

Every year, the calendar receives hundreds of comments from readers, commending its reflective and joyous content full of surprise, kindness, hope, humanity, and humour. The calendar resonates even with those only distantly related to the church. It also fosters community, with Advent doors opened together as a family, through virtual connections and social media, and in day-care and service centres.

Distribution is massive: Approximately 370,000 Advent calendars will be mailed to Finnish-speaking members starting 15 November, while the Swedish version will accompany the Kyrkpressen magazine on 21 November.

The English calendar will be available for free in churches, chapels, and other parish facilities across the capital region to all, regardless of mother tongue or church affiliation.

Joulukalenterin kansikuva 2023 - Sari Pelho