COMMUNITY OUTREACH: Advent workshop to help Families prep for holidays

Liberty Chapel, 3111 Bastogne Ave., will host a community advent workshop 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the chapel’s fellowship hall. The workshop will provide Fort Campbell Families a spiritual way to prepare for the coming holiday season.

Liberty Chapel, 3111 Bastogne Ave., will host a community advent workshop 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the chapel’s fellowship hall. The workshop will provide Fort Campbell Families a spiritual way to prepare for the coming holiday season.

“It’s a good way to get Families involved and prepared for Christmas and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas,” said Jolynda Strandberg, installation director of Religious Education.

Strandberg said the workshop has 40 spots left and is open to all military ID card holders.

Participants of the workshop will make an advent wreath to take home along with reading materials the chapel will provide.

“The advent wreath is just a miniature version of what you would find in church,” Strandberg said.

Chaplain (Col.) Lawrence Bleboo said the advent wreath is part of the Roman Catholic Church’s season of Advent celebration. In the Catholic Church, advent is a time of preparation that extends over the four weeks before Christmas.

“It is important to have the advent wreath workshop so Families can take them home to prepare for the Season of Advent,” Bleboo said.

To make the wreath the greenery is connected to a brass candleholder and four candles are added, three purple and one pink, in each holder.

The purple candles signify the penitential nature of the season. The pink candle represents the third Sunday of advent, Gaudete Sunday, during which Catholics rejoice in the coming of the Christ child.

“People can bring it into their homes, they can light it and pray every night,” Strandberg said. “It just kind of brings the true meaning of Christmas into their homes because [the holiday] gets so commercialized.”

Additionally, Families can learn more about wassail, the Bethlehem Tree, Jesse Tree and a soft spot for Jesus.

Families can get a taste of wassail, a type of hot mulled cider that was part of wassailing, or caroling, in Medieval England at Christmas time. A recipe for wassail will be with the handouts given to participants to recreate the drink at home.

Participants will have the beginning for a Bethlehem Tree and Jesse Tree in their handouts to take home. A Bethlehem Tree is a small normal looking tree that Families can use Nativity scene ornaments to tell the story of Christ’s birth. Each night as Families place a different piece of the Nativity scene ornament on the tree they can tell that part of Christ’s birth.

A Jesse Tree is a bare tree, like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, that focuses on the Old Testament. Each ornament placed on the tree represents a story from the Old Testament. Families can read scripture and then place the ornament on the tree.

Strandberg said the Jesse Tree is an old Christian tradition.

“We might provide two or three ornaments for the Jesse Tree, but not the entire Jesse Tree,” Strandberg said. “Families will have something from each activity to take home with them.”

Strandberg said the soft spot for Jesus is a craft where children make a manger out of popsicle sticks and for every good deed or nice action children can put a cotton ball in the manger so that, hopefully by Christmas, there will be a nice spot for Christ to lay his head, Strandberg said.

Bleboo said he hopes people take advantage of the workshop because not everyone has the same Christmas traditions.

“Military Families don’t usually live near extended Family and so we thought this is a good way to get the community together, have something to eat, meet new people and mom doesn’t have to cook,” Strandberg said.

Anyone who wants to participate must reserve a spot by Monday so the chapel can ensure there are enough wreaths and candles for participants.

To reserve a spot call, 270-412-5796 or email Jolynda Strandberg at jolynda.h.strandberg.civ@mail.mil.