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."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!
~ pg. 102-103: Shepherd's Abiding by Jan Karon
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 KinkadeAnd, 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!