By Reggie Ramos

As we have just celebrated the final Sunday of Advent, I thought I’d share a brief story of redemption and transformation that has been within our sights throughout this whole Advent journey, though many may have been unaware of it. I’m talking about the dollhouse that has been the centerpiece of our sanctuary decor at the Wheaton campus. It didn’t always look the way that it has these past four weeks. You see, some time ago, after who knows how many children had used it and abused it, it was left on the side of the road to be hauled off with the trash. With parts of the frame broken off and the paint worn away in many places, it was empty, run down, and damaged — no longer useful, no longer valuable, no longer desired.

Yet one’s trash became another’s treasure as one mother found it, packed it into her car and brought it home. Her daughters got some use out of it for a time, but eventually it was again set aside in storage and largely forgotten. That is, until this year’s Advent planning began. With the theme “Our Hearts, Christ’s Home”, the planning team decided to transform the sanctuary stage into the living room of a home with a large dollhouse at the center of that room. And guess which unused dollhouse ended up being the perfect size? So it was retrieved out of storage and given a second (or third or fourth) chance. But not as-is; it needed some work. Under the skilled, creative, and loving hands of Ruth Cleghorn and Barb Behnken, it underwent a dramatic transformation.

Step one was to clean it up and give it a fresh paint job:

The next step was to add walls to create rooms and then to fill each room with miniature furniture. Each room was carefully thought out and each piece was handmade: the dining table, the chairs, the carpets, the couch, the bed and comforter…

And each room coincided with a point Pastor Mitch made each week as he taught our children about how God makes His home in us:

And just like each of our lives, this dollhouse had it’s own story of redemption and transformation in order to help tell the greatest story of redemption: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:12   I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent…16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.