Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mitford Moment: Advent Walk

You've probably noticed several references to this event in other posts, so here are all the details!

I've noticed in a couple of Mitford books that she mentions an annual event called the Advent Walk.

"If he remembered right, this afternoon was the annual Advent Walk. A horde of locals would start out at the Episcopalians, then march around to the Presbyterians and Methodists, enjoying a brief service at each stop and singing hymns and carols along the way. The whole caboodle would end up at First Baptist, with all the hot cider, cookies, and whatnot a man could hold."
~ pg. 102-103: Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon
I've always thought this sounded like a fun idea - though in most of our towns and cities where things are not within walking distance, not very practical for hosting. My idea will be adapted, but still carry the same thought and certainly to the same purpose of preparing for the coming of Christ at Christmas!

The word Advent means "a coming" and implies preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ!

I love how this book describes Advent:
"With December comes the weeks of Advent. Yet, the month of December and the season of Advent are not synonymous; they are, in fact, radically different. December brings all the outward preparations, all that we have to do to prepare for Christmas. Advent is an invitation to an inward preparation, calling us to listen, to attend to the preparation of the heart. Advent calls us to stop - however briefly - all of the frenetic doing and invites us to come into an experience of the holy." ~ page 5 & 6: Christ, the Light of the World by Thomas Kinkade
And, so - my idea was born. Here is the invitation I sent (I used paper which had lots of names for God listed on it, it proved to be a bit hard to read - but I was going for something that fit the theme):

The invitation includes the following description:

"We will begin with a soup dinner together and then go on a short candlelit walk to carol at four neighbor homes. We will theme the songs we choose at each home to reflect the themes of the weeks of Advent and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ at Christmas! When we return home, we'll enjoy hot cocoa and cookies!"

My inspiration for the songs used at each home and the themes that inspired them comes from a great flyer produced by The Navigators excerpted from "Christ in Christmas" Advent Devotionals. Each week includes a theme, songs that go with it, meditation questions and a Scripture reading for each day that week.

House 1: A Child Will Be Born To Us ~ Away In A Manger
House 2: The Birth of Christ ~ O Little Town of Bethlehem; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
House 3: The Shepherds & Angels ~ Silent Night, Holy Night; O Come, All Ye Faithful
House 4: The Visit of the Magi ~ We Three Kings; The First Noel

Later at home: Celebrating the Visit of Christ (Christmas Eve) ~ Joy to the World; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

For the menu, I'll be making this soup and this bread and my friend, Melissa will bringing another soup and corn bread muffins!

Of course, real candles or lanterns seems the most charming and old-fashioned! But, for practical and safety purposes - here is what I came up with:

The candles came from the wedding section of Hobby Lobby for $2/2 pack and I used two 40% off coupons (in two transactions) and the batteries were free at CVS last week! I wrapped a piece of homespun fabric around the base and tied a small bow to make them cuter!

I plan to give each family (only a very few since I'm trying to keep it low key this year) represented a jar of Christmas Smell and an Advent card mentioned earlier.

The hot chocolate bar will include whipped cream, peppermint sticks, marshmallows in star and snowflake shapes, sprinkles, extracts and cinnamon. Any other goodies I should include?

I will make sure to take pictures and share them next week!


MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

Such a lovely idea! Great idea to use the battery operated candles, the ribbon makes them very homey!

Marva said...

How cozy! Greaat ideas you have. You are so crafty and talented. How blessed your family and friends are to have you! Thank you for keeping Christ in Christmas! Blessings!

EdibleEducation said...

It all sounds wonderful - and I think the hot chocolate bar sounds fun.

I can't believe you are serving the soup I had last night!

A friend of mine made it for a church meal and it was so some point I realized that it was a recipe I had tried recently too, but mine was not nearly so wonderful as hers, and I wondered what her recipe was like.

Well now I have your recipe - I'll try that. Thanks!

KellyinPA said...

I'd like to make the soup recipe when we have extended family over for Christmas Eve, how many does your recipe serve? And also, thank you for sharing your creativity with us, I've gotten many wonderful ideas.


char said...

Monica - What a wonderful idea! Are you having other neighbors carol with you or friends? This is good enough to copy! char

Katy said...

That sounds wonderful!!! I hope everything goes well and according to plan! Can't wait to see the pics!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for this event! Thanks for all your planning and preparation -- see you soon! Love, Mom

carrie said...

so cool, Monica! Wish I could join you. Have fun!

melissa said...

great ideas! My only question is...who are you inviting to join you?

Anonymous said...


I am so excited for this!!! I am even more excited that Brian's parents will be in town to enjoy it with us - what a special treat!

I am going to make my white chicken chili with navy beans tomorrow afternoon. It will be difficult to keep our hands out of it until Sunday night! Just the thought of soup, hot chocolate, and good fellowship is making me wish today was Sunday...

Love, Melissa

Ruth @ said...

This is a beautiful and wonderful idea. I wish I could join you or better yet have you come to my house and bless me with the caroling. I know your neighbors will be blessed.

thehomespunheart said...

kellyinpa: I think the soup would make about 10-12 servings - it makes a BIG pot full!

Char: I didn't invite other neighbors this year. I need to keep it small this year! So, our guest list is our family - my parents who will be here from out of town, David's parents and Brian & Melissa and his parents who will be here from out of town. About 10 adults total.

Melissa - it is only family and one friend and her family this year! I am supposed to be taking things easier to try and stay off of bed rest!

Pattie - Chicagoland, IL said...

You do think of the most lovely ideas. This is just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I just love this idea! I hope it turns out great, and everyone is really blessed by it.


Patty said... are such a kind sweetheart...sounds like y'all will have a great time!


Liisa said...

I love this idea and I love the original idea in the book. I just sent an email to our pastor and some others from church suggesting we do the advent walk as in the book next year. We live in a little town with many churches and they are all fairly close togther.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Anonymous said...

OH Monica:

This sounds so wonderful. Wish I could be "in on it"! You are so clever, creative & thoughtful. I know your Mom will thoroughly enjoy this, especially being with you & your precious family.
Thinking of you at this Blessed Christmas Season.

With all my love, Grandma

P.S.The candles are adorable!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear all about it! I hope you have a fun and memorable time. Love you!

Grace said...

that last comment was from me. I pressed post too soon ~Grace~