Advent, a word derived from the Latin for “coming,” is a period of time when Christians wait expectantly for the celebration of the birth of Christ and prepare their hearts to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas. Amidst the hurry and busyness of the holiday season, Advent gives them an opportunity to push out the stress of those weeks and meditate on why the holiday exists.
Advent can be celebrated individually, as a family, or corporately within a church. Sometimes Advent observances are sacred, reflective events, and sometimes they are a fun way to count down the days until Christmas. For many local churches, it is a little of both.
For the past 19 years, St. John Lutheran in Rocky Ridge has hosted a ladies Advent Brunch on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Women from several area churches join together for fellowship and a reflective kick start to the Advent season.
“Our church used to have several women’s circles, and one of the circles started it to bring together women from various churches in our community,” said Patty Hameister, the church’s Sunday School superintendent. “It was free at first, then a few years in, they started charging, and the money was donated to a local nonprofit organization.”
This year, St. John invited women from 11 area churches. Money raised at the dinner will be donated to Sunshine Community, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities at its Maumee facility. Brunch will include a sausage breakfast casserole and white chocolate raspberry scones, and entertainment will be provided by Southern Gospel singer Abby Paskvan.
This year’s theme is “The Jesse Tree.”
“It’s another take on the Advent calendar. It’s based on Isaiah 11:1-2,” said Hameister. “It’s sort of like Jesus’ family tree. We have ornaments, and each ornament shows the growth of the tree, from Creation to Jesus’ birth. I’ll take the ornaments down after the brunch, and each week, I’ll have a little child put an ornament on during Sunday School.”
Faith Lutheran Church in Fremont will host a special weekly Advent Bible Study beginning on Nov. 26. The study’s theme will be, “You Shall Have a Song,” based on Psalm 96:1. The weekly studies also will include hands-on activities. Preregistration is required by calling Noelle Leutenegger at 419-332-6820.
Hayes Memorial United Methodist Church will celebrate with a “Hanging of the Greens” church decorating event on Nov. 27 and a Christmas cantata on Dec. 11 during a 9:30 a.m. combined service.
St. John Lutheran Church in Port Clinton will host Wednesday night Advent events on Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14. The events begin with a soup and salad potluck meal at 5:30 p.m. followed by a brief worship service based on the ELCA World Hunger Advent Study. Each event will include an activity.
Pam Boytim of St. John said the theme for the Nov. 30 event is “Shared Vulnerability,” based on Matthew 24. That week’s event will include taking a group photo that will be placed inside Christmas cards for shut-ins and making a lantern to represent the call of Isaiah 2:5 to “walk in the light of the Lord.”
For members of Grace Lutheran Church in Fremont, the Advent season will not only help prepare them for the Christmas season but also for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Pastor Jody Rice will preach the sermon series, “From Heaven Above,” during Wednesday night Advent services beginning at 7:15 p.m. The series will focus on the gifts of hope, love, peace and life.
“‘From Heaven Above’ is a hymn written by Martin Luther. It is getting us ready to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation,” Rice said. “We’ll be focusing on the divine gifts that come down to us from Jesus. We’ll unwrap one of these special treasures that come down from the Holy Child each week. Everyone is welcome to come and participate.”
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-639-0662.
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