A labyrinth is a journey, like Mary journeying to Bethlehem.
A labyrinth is waiting, like Mary waiting for her baby.
In a labyrinth we learn to value the journey and the waiting, not just the destination and fulfillment.
This labyrinth is a Journey to Bethlehem with stops along the way, one for each day. The readings help us to walk with Mary on the journey of Advent, as we look for the coming of the babe who would change the world.
How to Use the Labyrinth
You can make this to use at home, church or school. You could place a crib scene in the middle and add figures and objects as you progress through Advent. Alternatively, place an Advent wreath in the central space and light candles each week.
There are 25 readings to go with the days of Advent. [Click here to download a PDF Journey to Bethlehem Readings and Labyrinth] You can print these on paper then roll them up and have a little box of scrolls to read from each day.
Mary travels one stage of her journey every day, stopping overnight. You can use a small figure from a crib scene to move along the labyrinth, or some other object that you like. (I have used a star.) As you go along the journey, pick up the numbers and read the Bible verses that tells the Christmas story over 25 days.
How to make your Journey to Bethlehem Labyrinth
You will need:
- An off-cut of carpet, MDF, plywood or sturdy card – I used a carpet offcut. I neatened the edges with hot glue.
- Paints or marker pens, ruler
- Date markers – I used wood slices [click] and wooden numbers [click], but you could use felt numbers [click] or write the numbers on the labyrinth itself
- Small crib figures [click] (optional)
- Pattern [Click here -> Journey to Bethlehem Readings and Labyrinth]
What to Do:
Download the picture if you want a large (4200×4200) template. Or use the PDF above.
Lightly mark 8 concentric circles on your board. Mine had radii of 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12 & 9cm. This makes my finished labyrinth 60cm across with a display area in the middle a little under 20 cm across. I have placed a star there. You could have a crib scene and add figures as you come across them in the story.
For a larger labyrinth, suitable for a school or church display, you could try radii of 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20 & 15 cm. This will make a labyrinth that is 1 m across with a 30cm display area in the middle. For a large display, try 50, 46, 42, 38, 34, 30, 26 & 22 cm. This will give you a display area a little under 45 cm across.
Lightly mark radial lines at the quarters: north, south, east and west. You also will need one line slightly to the left of the south line for the entrance (by number 1), and one slightly to the right for the exit into the centre (by number 25). Make these paths as wide as the gaps between your circles. My gaps are 3 cm wide.
Following the pattern, draw in the rest of the labyrinth, using permanent markers or paints, making all gaps the same as the gap between your circles.
Make your date markers. You will need 1-24 or 1-25 for a standard Advent calendar, or up to 30 if you want to start on the First Sunday of Advent (which could be as early as November 27th).
Place your date markers at the turning points of the labyrinth (see this image or pattern for placement). Each day, move Mary along to the next date marker and read the verses that goes with that date. In my picture, at the top, my Mary star marker is on her way to stop 13.
Other ways of counting Advent
You can start the journey on Dec 1st, or you can start on the first Sunday of Advent, adjusting the number of resting places to suit. You will need date markers up to 30 if Advent Sunday in is November. I have included a stop for Christmas Day itself, although that is not technically part of Advent, so you need 23-29 stops. Feel free to leave off 25th of you prefer.
Download this PDF for the readings and labyrinth pattern, with table for adjusting for different lengths of Advent. [Click here -> Journey to Bethlehem Readings and Labyrinth]
New International Version
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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