Advent Calendar Offers Campus Windows into Christmas

Author: Carol Schaal '91M.A.


Kevin Sandberg, CSC, ‘88, ’04M.Div., wanted to share the story about God’s coming in Christmas with his niece and nephews. He just didn’t want it to sound like a lecture. And so the 2003 Notre Dame Advent calendar was born.

The 30 inset windows of the calendar are on a photograph of Sacred Heart Basilica and the Main Building. Beginning November 30, 2003, a window should be opened each day, revealing a photo and text.

The story, Sandberg notes, “moves from the ordinary to the spiritual.” On the second day of Advent, opening the appropriate calendar window reveals the Irish Guard walking through campus. “Our preparation for Christ’s coming takes place alongside everyday life,” the text reads, “even the ongoing football season at Notre Dame.” Scripture is used to tell the Biblical story itself, beginning in the 17th window. Photos of stained glass windows, religious sculptures and a creche replace the earlier campus-centered scenes.

“I took 300 pictures and I used 30 of then,” says Sandberg. His sister, Eileen Trimble, a 1989 Notre Dame graduate, sized the photos for the calendar, and Sandberg wrote the copy.

Trimble, her husband, Steve, and their three children live in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, but they’ll get a big dose of the ND campus with the Advent calendar. “My brother-in-law’s family are fans of Florida State,” Sandberg says with a grin.

Proceeds from the $12.95 calendar will go to Moreau Seminary. It is available at the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore or online at

“My real hope is it becomes a tradition for families,” says Sandberg, who is already planning the 2004 Advent calendar.

(Autumn 2003)