For the first Sunday in Advent (using the Narrative Lectionary), we hear the words from the prophet Habakkuk: “How long shall I cry out to you, O God!” Meaning? How long are we going to have to wait for God to answer the cries and the hurts of the people? Just as the people of God saw then and see now violence around them, they look to God to save them, and even ask “Where are you, God?”
Because Habakkuk is a prophet with lots of questions, God answered him and told him what to do: God told Habakkuk to take some stone tablets and write a vision or a statement on it so that those running by could see the message and share the message. Perhaps the message said something simple like “Live by Faith!” – whatever it was Habakkuk was to encourage God’s people to remember God and God’s story!
At St John’s Lutheran Church in Lakeville, MN this year, we have a different kind of Advent wreath this year. It is designed to parallel the message of Habakkuk. The base is a barrel that symbolizes God’s people then and God’s people now, who find themselves in cold and dark times filled with hollow and empty spaces – where we feel gloom and doom. But there is hope! Just as Habakkuk was instructed to encourage the people to “Live by Faith!” in his stone tablets to passersby, the Advent wreath will serve the same purpose for us today.
So around the Advent wreath this year, people of St. John’s will light the candles remembering that we have a God of hope, peace, joy and love. We will learn God’s story together – not on stone tablets – but interactively as we use the wreath to recreate story scenes in its nooks. We will be like God’s people then who live as God’s people now – we will pray to God as we long for the coming of Christ, to wait for God’s love to descend, and to remember each time that we as passersby of the Advent wreath are called to “Live by Faith!”
Here are the stories we will be recreating on the Advent wreath:
Advent #2: Esther 4:1-17 (Coming soon…a storytelling!)
Advent #3: Isaiah 42:1-9 (Coming soon…a storytelling!)
Advent #4: Matthew 1:1-17 (Coming soon…a storytelling!)
How to make a storytelling Advent wreath:
- Buy a clean never used barrel for a base and remove the lid
2. Create a topper! Ask a skilled carpenter to help with this part:
3. Cover with aluminum foil to protect glass hurricanes and wooden topper. Spray foam landscape:
4. Add candles, hurricanes, and lights. Glue gun moss landscape:
5. Add felt tress and characters to go along with the story!