Born in Houston, digital Advent calendar goes viral

Darcy Casavant Advent

Darcy Casavant knits in her favorite corner where she worked on the project for Advent digital on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Houston. People are asked to post an image and meditation to represent a different word daily during Advent. On the fifth day, the word was ‘abide’ and she posted an image of orange yarn and a knitting needle and a mug with a photo of her daughter wearing a dress and tiara. (Mayra Beltran/ Houston Chronicle)

Not only does The Dude, of “Big Lebowski” fame, abide, but so, too, do whirling dervishes, Jewish prayer shawls, elf dolls suspended between Venetian blinds, and Bernini’s 17th-century sculpture “Ecstasy of St. Teresa.” That’s according to Instagram users across the globe who submitted photos to the Anglican Communion’s new digital Global Advent Calendar.

Advent season is both a time for solemnity, reflection and anticipation of Christmas, as well as, apparently, for texting, tweeting and Instagramming.

Instead of revealing chocolates or other prizes each day, the Communion’s calendar tasks the faithful with responding daily to a word – “abide” was the fifth day – and posting photographic reflections with the tag #AdventWord.

The digital calendar, which was conceived in Houston, has gone viral.

“It’s certainly the Anglican Communion Office’s most popular digital initiative,” says Jan Butter, communications director of the Communion in London. The Communion website saw nearly double its average monthly traffic of 34,000 hits last month as it prepared to launch the calendar, and it received 15,000 hits in the first week of December alone, he says.

My article “Born in Houston, digital Advent calendar goes viral” appears in the Houston Chronicle.

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