Most people know very well the tradition of lighting an Advent wreath at church. But First Church in Marlborough is doing something different - it encourages families to take it home as well.
The idea came up during a discussion between the Sunday School co-superintendents Anita Stetson and Lynette Biggs and Pastor Kaz on how to make Advent more special for families and children. Pastor Kaz, who comes originally from Poland, suggested a practice he knows from parts of Poland, Germany and Scandinavia: having an Advent wreath at home. The family gathers in the evening around it, lights the proper candle, says a short prayer, and sings together.
The idea caught on, and on the first Sunday of Advent children at the Sunday School made their own Advent wreaths and took them home; all in all 12 families participated. Pastor Kaz provided a short Advent devotional booklet with appropriate prayers and hymns. The response has been very positive - almost all families have lit their wreath, and some have shared their photos.
The rest of First Church took part too: on Sunday of Joy, almost the entire congregation came in wearing pink to liturgically match with Pastor Kaz's pink stole. Even the congregation's mascot, Calvin the Black Bear, wore a pink prayer shawl.
"Advent is a jewel of the Christian liturgical calendar," says pastor Kaz. "Taking it home, and sharing it with your families, is one of the best ways to ground them in the Christian faith, and prepare spiritually and prayerfully for Christmas."
Kaz J. Bem
The Rev. Kazimierz Bem is the Pastor of the First Church in Marlborough (Congregational).