Planning for Advent 2012

What’s up at our place for Advent 2012? We’re traveling new paths to Bethlehem this year! Our young parents have asked, and we’re trying some new things.

Some things will remain the same. As we did last year, we bought 50 of these “Slow Down. Quiet. It’s Advent!” posters to hand out to our young families (and we have extra for those who don’t consider themselves young any more). And, this year I hope to have the print shop print up some of the liturgical calendars seen in the upper left of this post for the parents. Jenifer Gamber created this wonderful tool, and you can find it on her website here. Our children understand the “Circle of the Church Year,” but some of our parents confess the parade of liturgical colors and seasons mystifies them a little. (Some moms have suggested a Godly Play Mom’s Night Out, with wine, to keep up with their children. Now that will be FUN to plan!)

We had an evening Advent wreath craft for children in 2011 (you can find the planning and follow through here, here, here, and here). This year, the young families suggested a new path to Bethlehem.

On Sunday, December 2, 2012 we’re having an Advent Wreath Workshop after Sunday School and church for anyone who wants to participate (one per family, please!). We’ll provide greenery, candles (we chose 10″ patriot blue and pink tapers from and 8 1/2″ oasis rings for the wreath.

Instead of our usual fellowship dinner and Advent craft on the first Wednesday in Advent, we’re changing it up to have the dinner and a short service (in the church) for the celebration of the feast day of St. Nicholas of Myra. A parishioner is set to dress as the good bishop. We’ll have candy canes to bless and pass out. And,, any child who leaves his shoes in the hallway outside the church will perhaps find that St. Nicholas has left an orange and some chocolate coins and a bookmark from the St. Nicholas Center during the service.

It’s a bit scary – and fun – to change things around. When my children were small, most of us used an advent wreath made by a local potter that we used with evergreens, so we never considered a wreath-making event.

And while we don’t use children’s sermons quite like this, I highly recommend checking out my dear friend Fran’s blog on the chancel steps for her series of RCL lectionary-based children’s sermons for Advent and Christmas Eve/Day. I think they’re great! I am including them in the booklet “Celebrating Advent in the Home” that we’ll hand out at the Wreath Making Workshop on December 2, 2012.

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