by Christine Sine
At our last community meeting, we started talking about Christmas. Yep, Christmas! It still seems so far off but it needs a little more attention this year as our celebrations will probably look a little different than in previous years. Most of us won’t be traveling to spend time with family and Tom and I won’t have our usual Open House. The focus will be on small, socially distanced rather than large gatherings.
How do we approach the season so that we don’t lose the joy and the fun of celebration?
Following our discussion on Monday night, we established a Google document so that everyone can share their favorite foods and favourite traditions with the hope of combining these into some fun meals and activities over the season. It was suggested that we could celebrate the 12 days of Christmas together – maybe not eating together everyday, but enjoying life together in ways that we normally wouldn’t. It brings a smile to my face just thinking of the possibilities.
What plans could you make now that will help make this a rich and joy-filled Christmas?
What new traditions can we start that bring joy not just to us but to others during the Christmas season?
There are some traditions that I will continue from past years. We will buy and decorate a tree on the first Sunday of Advent. I will probably make an Advent jar, and Tom and I will watch Handel’s Messiah on You Tube rather than going to a live performance. And of course there will be lots of zoom calls to friends and family. But there are some traditions that are not possible this year.
I love our annual Open House not just because I love seeing our friends, but also because I love to bake but don’t want to have to eat all my shortbread and fruit cake myself. So, I am thinking about making Christmas treats for my neighbours, hopefully with other community members, and will also be sending out more and probably larger Christmas packages of homemade products than I usually do. I am thinking of making this Rosemary Orange salt scrub as we have so much rosemary we could easily supply the whole of Seattle. So, I get the joy of cooking and creating new things as well as the delight of sharing.
What new traditions could you start this year that will not only bring life and hope into Christmas this year, but also in the future?
How do we shine the Light?
I notice that people are craving light this season. There are an unprecedented number of Christmas lights already twinkling in the neighbourhood. Our new resource Lean Towards The Light This Advent and Christmas, which will also provide our theme for the Advent season, seeks to provide just such a focus. All of us long to see the light of Christ burst into our world at this season in our personal lives, our communities and our world. Through daily reflections, poetry and practical suggestions, we hope that this resource helps you lean towards that light this year.
I still love the Advent video I created several years ago when we first used the theme Lean Towards the Light and know that this will be one that I come back to over the Advent season.
It contains amazing photos by Craig Goodwin and Tom Balke (Title photo) and beautiful music by Jeff Johnson.
The music is “Antiphon” from the CD, ANTIPHON by the Coram Deo Ensemble. Music by Janet Chvatal, Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning. ℗© 2011 Sola Scriptura Songs / ArkMusic.com Used with permission. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
How will you lean toward the light this Christmas?
Shine the Light of Justice?
This isn’t the only light I want to shine during Advent this year and it won’t be the only devotional I read. I also want to shine the lights of justice and challenge myself with new ways to respond. The highlighting of injustice in our society is not a theme that we should ignore this Christmas. Donna Barber’s Bread for the Resistance: Forty Devotionals for Justice People is also on my reading list.
How will you shine the light of justice during this Christmas season?
Shine the Light of Lament
On Godspace, we are noticing that Blue Christmas resources are high on many church leaders priority list and we realize that it is necessary this year for us not just to provide opportunities for joy and light-shining but also for lament and grieving. I hope that the resources we provide on Godspace will be of great value to you. I think the empty chair analogy is particularly poignant this year. If you have other suggestions, please let us know. Also, SAVE THE DATE for December 8th when Lilly Lewin, Kathy Escobar and I will facilitate an interactive Blue Christmas service. (More details to come next week).
How will you incorporate lament into your Christmas observances this year?
Lean Towards the Light
At the moment, I am more focused on getting ready for Thanksgiving than Christmas and I love to call this my thanksgiving season. I have just moved my gratitude garden to pride of place on the dining room table, and next week we will be painting leaves at our Community meeting. All of this helps me focus on the season that is coming.
What helps you focus on the season that is coming and ways to prepare? What other things are you thinking of doing this year that will help you find light and hope as we move towards the celebration of the Christ child? How will you bring joy and laughter into this festive season?
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beautiful video. I’m a worship planner looking towards Advent and love the idea of Leaning Towards the Light. Would you have suggestions for doing prayer stations–either in person or via video that might fit this theme or another Advent theme? We have been doing prayer stations for years, especially for Advent and Lent, and had to discontinue doing them in March. We would love to be able to offer something this year for Advent.
Good question and great idea. Let me give it a little thought and get back to you