This Great Idea comes directly from Traci Smith, author of the Faithful Families series, who got it from Sarah C. in an Advent Planning Lab.
Sarah C. suggested ‘reverse advent calendars’, writing:
“Reverse Advent Baskets:
- Purchase laundry baskets.
- Make a list of items needed for missions your church supports such as a homeless shelter, manna bags, food pantry, etc.
- List an item/items for each day of Advent.
- Each family takes a basket the first Sunday of Advent and fills it with items on the list.
- The filled baskets are returned to church on Christmas Eve.”
Super simple! Super engaging for the whole family. AND what a wonderful focal point for Christmas Eve worship.
The entire theme could be preparing a room, or a house, or a pantry, or the community, for the arrival of Jesus and his family.
When the baskets arrive on Christmas Eve, have some of your visually savvy folx build them into a focal point at the front of the sanctuary, with space for the family or individuals who will receive them at the center – perhaps the manger?? (Maybe the ‘manger’ is one more empty laundry basket, with just some straw or a small blanket to designate it for what it is?)
Where will Christ be born in your community this Christmas Season? Let that empty ‘manger’ suggest the spaces and places where we least expect to find the Divine, yet where most assuredly the Sacred will be born.