Advent can be a solitary endeavor: wrestling in the dark, searching for glimpses of light, pushing away doubt, wondering, and believing. Yet, Advent can be a communal offering: walking in hope, waiting expectantly for a baby to be born, and lighting candles into the night.
One way we’ve been marking the season of Advent at our church is with homemade Advent calendars and devotionals. People of all ages contribute 24 goodies, one for each day, and open throughout the month. Each day also includes a bible reading and reflection by the community.
Every year one of my favorite parts of the calendar happens before the start of Advent. My husband and I put together the chocolate calendars (this year one for kids and one for adults). We open the packages, lay the candies out on our table, number them, and place them in a bag.
As I go round and round the table, I picture each person unwrapping their individual pieces. I see their delight and joy. I imagine them reading the scripture and words nodding along, knowing that in their faith, belief, and doubt, they are not alone. The chocolates get packed, a prayer with each piece.
This is Advent – prayers offered around the table, the tasting of God’s goodness, and traveling together to meet the baby born for each of us.
In the making of this tradition, I’m reminded that faith can come one bite at a time.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website, follow her work on Facebook, or sign up for her monthly newsletter.