Faith at Home
Ideas for All Saints Day, Advent, Christmas and Beyond
Given the surge in coronavirus cases, and taking into account the average age of members of our congregation, our Congregation Council has determined it is best to suspend indoor, in-person worship services while Ross County remains at “Level 3, ” indicated by red on the Ohio map. That means many of us will return to using the 9:30 on-line service as our primary worship experience for the week.
It also means we may need to get creative in order to feed our souls during this time apart.
All Saints Day
Inspired in part by the Disney-Pixar film Coco, our family has set up an ofrenda, a home altar, as part of our All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day celebrations. The ofrenda is part of the Mexican DÍa de los Muertos tradition. This year, Jon took charge of setting it up. He ordered an arrangement of flowers in the favorite colors of Anne’s late mother, sister, and brother. He also found photos of each of our deceased loved ones to place on the altar and we’ve lit battery-powered candles there as well. In addition, we’ve eaten some of their favorite foods over the past few days--cheesesteak sandwiches, donuts, and burritos. It has been a comforting reminder of loved ones we have lost this year and in years previous.
The Season of Advent begins this year on November 29. Some Advent practices, like lighting candles on an Advent wreath, are especially appropriate for home devotional use. The Advent wreath has four candles. One is lit on the First Sunday of Ad-vent, 2 on the second, 3 on the third, and 4 on the fourth.
Augsburg Fortress, part of our ELCA publishing ministry, has released a full-color book that has devotional readings for the First Sunday in Advent through Epiphany Day (Jan. 6). It is titled Our Hope and Expectation: Devotions for Advent & Christmas 2020-2021. They may be ordered from augsburgfortress.org in regular or large print.
Augsburg is also publishing a deck of cards called Families Celebrate Advent & Christmas 2020-2021. We have used these at dinner time, taking turns reading from the cards. The deck includes rituals, prayers, and reflections for busy families. These too can be ordered online--don’t delay, though. They tend to sell out fast.
Blessings to you, and I hope to see you soon!
Pastor Tom Pairan
P.S. Thank you to all who send cards and gifts for Pastor Appreciation Month. We are grateful for your kindness and generosity!