Prepare the Way Anyway Happy New Year! Sunday, November 29 will kick off a new liturgical year with the First Sunday in Advent. For many of us, Advent traditions help bring this season into focus as preparation for the coming of Christ - both at his birth and at his coming again. We know that our celebrations will be different this year - perhaps in ways we have not even yet realized. There is much to mourn in those changes - traditions that cannot be upheld, gatherings that cannot happen, and yet we can still approach the season in gratitude and anticipation. Here are some ways to mark this season at home this year. Consider ways to adapt some of your favorite traditions and include new ones. Above all, it helps to make a plan and choose what is most important to you.
1. Create an Advent wreath. Perhaps you have a ready-made Advent wreath, one you had or made at Prepare the Way in years past. If not, you can assemble a simple one with four votive candles on a plate, decorated with greens from your yard if you choose. You could also make a simple one with children using green clay and birthday candles.
2. Use Advent devotions. Create your own ritual. Perhaps you light a candle on your wreath one morning as you drink your coffee and read the devotion for the week from ELCA World Hunger. With a family, you could use Faith5 to shape a time of devotions, using the week’s scripture or pieces of the Christmas story for your scripture sharing.
3. Create an Advent calendar. There are many Advent calendars available in stores, which can be a lot of fun, but often lead to anticipation of consumerism. For a reflective Advent calendar, you can print a template to use in meditation or prayer where you fill in a small section each day. You can pair it with Advent Word.
4. Put out a nativity. You can place it in a prominent place to help you remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. You could consider adding pieces slowly as we hear about them each Sunday in Advent or begin with the pieces spread around your house and slowing making their way toward the manger. For children, you can print, cut and color your own nativity scene this year. As we approach a Christmas that will be different from any we have experienced, I encourage you to look for the essence of what you value and find ways to safely share that with others.
In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord, Pastor Lecia P.S. Save the date! We will gather online for worship and thanksgiving at the conclusion of a pastor's call in the morning on Sunday, December 20 to be followed by Holy Communion and a car-line farewell reception. More details to follow.