I feel like, for most people, the words in that title probably don't go together. And until I found myself coordinator of our local MOPS group and facilitating that with crafts and activities and speakers, it didn't work for me either.
In 2016 I found myself craving quiet, cozy, and easy. I saw the mommas in my MOPS group stressed about making all of the amazing memories and making all of the in-laws happy and keeping it all in budget, and it occurred to me that mommas needed something for themselves. I put the word out to my group that I'd host an advent bible study in my home during the busiest month of the year. I had six women join me that first year on Monday nights, and it completely changed how I saw bible studies.
So here's how I host a stress free bible study during my busiest
month of the year as owner of a coffee roasting company.
Rule #1 You get to choose to make this stress free.
Your mindset is what sets the tone for the women coming to your study, how your family feels about it, and how much you get out of this time. Decide what is most important to you, and make that happen. If it's to have a beautifully crafted tablescape with a charcuterie board and Christmas dishes, this might not be the blog post for you, but go for it. The most important thing for me is that I'm gathering with my friends and talking about Jesus.
This also means that I do not stress out about getting my house clean. I don't want my family hating every Monday night because we're running around like crazy to clean the house for Mom's bible study. I try to get the place picked up and vacuumed, but that's as far as that goes. There are probably dishes in my sink and kid messes uncontained.
But ya know what? Your friends who are coming over probably have dishes in their sink and kid clothes strung out at their house, just like you. They also need community, just like you.
Rule #2 Keep it small.
My small home doesn't always prevent me from hosting a ton of humans, but in this case, I want to see everyone cozied up in my living room with a quilt and their bible, not sprawled on the floor because the couch is full. I can really only seat six adults in my living room comfortably, so that's my limit.
Rule #3 Keep it casual.
I tell everyone before it starts that no real pants are allowed. Leggings or pajamas only! This takes the pressure off to look put together and tells your friends you're welcome anytime.
Rule #4 Keep it simple.
I tell my friends to bring a snack if they can, but if it causes any stress or rushing, then don't. I always have cocoa, tea, and decaf coffee on hand, and before December rolls around, I will do a baking day and get two or three batches of cookies or biscotti baked and in the freezer. I'll put out some fresh fruit, and call it good. Sometimes that's all we have, sometimes we have an array of Christmas goodies.
I cannot rave enough about the She Reads Truth advent study (and their other studies! I've done several of them and it's always an amazing experience). I've done it four years in a row now and every year it just feels like Christmas when I open the beautiful book. The crafts are inspiriting and the recipes are mouthwatering, but the best thing about these advent studies is just how simple they are. It's the Bible, broken down into what you need to read each day with minimal questions and commentary and words other than God's Word. Create a full, beautiful advent feast just by keeping it simple.
Just like any bible study, prepping ahead is pretty necessary. Sometime in November, I bake two batches of cookies or scones for the freezer, and I pull out enough for my friends the day of the bible study. I also prep freezer meals for Monday nights (I've always hosted them on Mondays for some reason) so that supper is always planned. I make sure I have cocoa, a couple of tea options, and decaf coffee.
That's it. Seriously.
I mean, you should probably prep ahead and read what you're supposed to beforehand, maybe have some questions ready to talk about too, I guess.
Then? Just love on your friends.
It's not too late to start an advent study this year, even if just on your own, or create a Zoom study! The She Reads Truth advent study book is sold out, but you can join on their app for $1.99. Or start a free one on the Bible app. Keep me updated if you do decide to host a zero-stress study, I want to hear about it!