Hey Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church this is Pastor Kristen. I am coming to you wanting to share a couple suggestions for how to practice Advent intentionally this season.

Sunday Nov 29th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, will be the first Sunday of Advent. I wanted to give us a heads up about that so that we can begin making room for a sacred space in our homes. As most of us are not going to be worshiping together, perhaps there’s more reason for us to make our own Advent wreath at home.

Advent wreaths have four candles around the outside for the four weeks of Advent; each week we light one more candle. The center candle is the Christ candle that we light on Christmas. Wreaths don’t need to be fancy; you can use your ingenuity to use items from around your house!

So, a few pictures of what I’ve done in my own home over the years. This is what I did last year. I bought special beeswax candles and it was beautiful. I loved it!

But other years I’ve done something that’s a little bit more DIY. So, the second picture that you see here is when I just took votive or tea light holders and I used four candles around the outside and one in the center so we could mark the season together.

One last idea that I had—that was really fun when I had just two toddlers at home—was I took a canning jar (some kind of glass jar) and we made a paper collar and then we taped it around the center of each jar. We glued one pink and then three purple tissue paper squares or maybe construction paper around the jars and then put one in the middle of that was going to be just white.  And, it was a really fun way for us to participate as a family and make this space together.

I wanted to offer these suggestions as it’s going to feel so different as we move to this Advent and Christmas season to not be gathering in the big way that we are used to.  Instead we are invited to make a sacred space, to follow along in the livestream, to light the candles, to be able to wait in this season together.

We would love to see your pictures of anything that you’ve made as a family, as individuals, as a couple!

We would also like to let our kids know that there is a special package coming for each of our kids from pre-K to middle school. This weekend I’m going to be stuffing envelopes to send you something special in the mail. There are going to be some children’s Christmas coloring sheets for every Sunday. And I’m wondering if you might want to put them on the refrigerator, on your wall, or you might want to send one of those finished bulletins to someone in our church. This is a great time for us to reach out to each other as a community to remember that we belong to each other, and to come near as Christ came near to us in the season.

Grace and peace to you and we’ll talk soon,
Pastor Kristen

Advent & Christmas 2020

Week 1: Nov 29 — Isaiah 64:1-9
Week 2: Dec 6 — Isaiah 40:1-11
Week 3: Dec 13 — Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11
Week 4: Dec 20 — 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Blue Christmas Service: Thursday, Dec 10, 7pm, Virtual (Zoom)
Christmas Eve: Dec 24, 4pm, Virtual (live-stream) — Luke 2:1-20
(recorded and available for viewing at your convenience following the service)