Advent is a family affair at Ascension Lutheran Church, Minocqua, Wis.
The season begins with a midweek worship service with nearby St. Matthias Episcopal Church. Children and their families receive Advent calendars to help them focus on the season at home.
Then the children help create an Advent calendar for the church. Families sign up for a day and assemble a page for the calendar that depicts Bible stories and symbols. The pages are hung on a wall and are covered until that date arrives.
Sharing and service are also emphasized during Advent:
• Youth visit residents of a senior apartment complex, presenting a play and singing carols.
• All ages take turns ringing the bell for the Salvation Army.
• Members present a Christmas carol festival.
• Parishioners give donations to families in need.
The season ends with an Epiphany worship service, tree burning and supper with St. Matthias.
Youth at Bethany Lutheran, Norway, Mich.
, also make Advent special for the congregation. For more than 10 years the confirmands have put on the living Nativity.
The event is usually held in conjunction with the Sunday school Christmas program. After the program, the confirmands don their costumes and head outside to pose in the Nativity scene. Past scenes have included borrowed animals—cows, goats, sheep, horses and dogs.
The event is advertised in the local paper and cable channel to draw area residents.
Neither wind nor below-zero wind chill has yet to cancel a Nativity scene. John C. Voelker, pastor of Bethany, reported that the confirmands are reassured they aren’t freezing to death (“If you can say the word hypothermia
, you don’t have it”).