Last weekend, Sweet Man, the boys and I all took a little road trip to Chattanooga so that I could lead my Advent In a Box event for St. Mark’s Church-Chattanooga. (I also was honored to lead the sermon on Sunday morning, but we will get to that later.)
But first, the Advent Event.
As you probably know Advent begins this Sunday and the time to make your calendars and put together your wreath is here! But you may also be like a lot of folks, new to Advent or new to celebrating Advent in the home (beyond the chocolate square calendars that is.)
I met St. Mark’s pastor Carl Greene, and St. Mark’s lead creative Anna Golladay at last years Christianity 21 event. Carl and I both spoke in the same session, and afterward the three of us shared a lunch of tacos and formed a friendship which I am so thankful for to this day. So when Carl invited me to come and lead their church family in an Advent Event and speak on families and faith in the home, I jumped at the chance. (This is Carl and I getting ready for a local TV segment.)
The Advent in a Box event is based on crafts from my book (including this Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar,) and has something for everyone to help with – no matter their skill level.
I do each event a little different based on the time frame and the budget, but regardless, at the end of the event, everyone goes home with a tangible way to celebrate Advent in the home.
I am always so encouraged by who shows up to these events. Young and old, married, single,divorced… families with two moms, families with teenangers, old crumudgins and precocious toddlers. And even those who are skeptical end up with a glue gun in their hand and some glitter in their shoes.
Kids learn to sew, grown-ups learn to let go of perfection, and everyone learns that bringing faith practices into the home is easier and more personal than perhaps they thought.
And almost everyone leaves with at least one glue gun wound – the battle scars of intense crafting.
At the Chattanooga event we made Advent Calendar Garlands out of shipping tags (I am gaga over the ones with the wire ties – the craft nerd in me wigged out a bit when I discovered them.)
We also created Paschal Candles for each family – these they can use as their Christ Candle in their Advent wreath and then later during Easter, on special occasions and other feast days if they want.
And each family made an Advent Wreath and the interactive objects for each week – Hope, Love, Peace, Joy, and Faith – to help them experience the gift of waiting for Christmas at home.
The event was amazing and beautiful and I am so grateful for everyone who participated.
St. Mark’s is a wonderful, warm, kind, and giving community and it was such a gift to get to share a bit of my story and my love for Advent with them.
Sunday morning I had the honor of sharing the sermon. Carl had asked me to share an expanded version of what I had talked about during Christianity 21 last year entitled Home Isn’t a Four Letter Word, and I happily obliged – making sure to tie in that mornings readings from the Common Lectionary (y’all I am such a liturgical nerd!) as I best could. This is a video of that talk-turned-sermon tailored for St. Mark’s community. (The talk is all about bringing faith into the home and why I think it is important, and how I try and go about it in my own life.)
Thanks again to Carl, and to Anna, and to the wonderful family of St. Mark’s. It is always such a gift to find other houses of faith that are doing an amazing job of loving and serving as Christ hands and feet.
Happy Advent everyone!
PS – Congrats to Stacy who won the copy of The Season of Nativity! I will get it to you ASAP!