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 | By Michelle DiFranco

Treasures of Faith: An Advent Project

This last year, we were blessed with a new addition to our family. It was very unexpected and exciting for my husband and me, since we thought we wouldn’t be able to have more children. But along with the many joys of having a new baby, I am at times reminded of the huge and daunting responsibility of raising another child in today’s world. We parents face many challenges in a society that is ever more secular and materialistic. It’s hard to navigate and compete with the latest toys, fashion and electronics that our older children are told they “need” to have. And because so many kids these days do receive and flaunt their expensive things, we find ourselves reminding them often of the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s belongings.”

On the day of his baptism, our son received a unique gift. It was a sacraments keepsake box; upon opening it, my sister gave us an explanation of its simple, yet meaningful use. She described it as a “treasure box” for any and all of the religious items our son will receive or use when receiving the sacraments of his faith. My husband and I had never before seen or heard of such a gift, and it really started us thinking.

The sacraments arm us with the Holy Spirit. They give us the graces we will need to live as Christians in this world and help us to be “other-centered.” As Catholics, we are, through the sacraments, assisted to live a life for others, selflessly. If the world is going to surround our children with the messages of hedonism and gratification, and if their world measures success with material wealth and how many things we collect, what could be better to counteract those forces than to bring our attention to the sacraments and how much more valuable they are than any physical thing the world might offer.

It was that idea that made the sacraments “treasure box” such a beautiful and meaningful gift. We decided that we would, as often as possible, return to this item, reflecting with our son on the treasures within and the spiritual reality of what they represent.

This Advent season, take the time to create a vessel for some of the most valuable items your children recieve as Catholics.

Sacraments keepsake box

  • 12” x 12” pieces of scrapbook paper
  • Craft knife or paper trimmer
  • Ruler
  • Acrylic craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Decoupage glue
  • Craft cement
  • Craft spray varnish
  • Small Phillips head screwdriver

With a screwdriver, remove lock and hinges from wood box and set aside.

Paint top of lid and dowel end caps and set aside to dry.

Measure and trim scrapbook paper to fit cross and all sides of box (helpful hint: for the irregularly shaped cross, trace it face down on the back of the scrapbook paper). Apply decoupage glue to all pieces and adhere to cross and box. Let dry.

Sand edges for a worn look and apply a coat of spray varnish to entire box, cross and dowel end caps. Let dry.

Replace the lock and hinges on the box. Using craft cement, glue the dowel end caps to the bottom corners of the finished box.

Lastly, glue the cross to the top lid.

Allow the finished project to dry for 24 hours before use.


Michelle DiFranco is a designer and the busy mom of three children.

This article was originally published December 2014.