Today, at the beginning of our All Ages Gathering we lit the third
candle on our Advent Wreath. The pink candle, variously known as  “the Rose Candle”, “the Candle of Joy”, “the Gaudete Candle”, “the Mary Candle” etc.

there seemed to be quite a lot of “joy” as be got down to the business of
transforming a rather sorry looking dead branch into a Jesse Tree!

Everyone was involved from toddlers to grown-ups and it was really
special to see professors and doctors, students, children, mums and dads all sitting on the floor
with glitter and glue, assembling everything from the Apple (representing Adam)
to the Lily (for Mary)

After our Gathering it was also special to have a bunch of able-bodied
men come upstairs to our newly painted Toddler room and cheerfully carry away unwanted
furniture, and debris, even rolling up and removing the very grubby carpet,
which has been the bane of my existence in the Children’s Group room!

Sadly, no one was driving back to NDG so I made the long trek home, only
to be met by Wil, eager to go for a long walk. Sigh!

But since then there has been more “JOY” as I trimmed my darling short
and chubby Christmas Tree! The tree is so chubby that I will need to string
more popcorn and cranberries this evening to wrap around it’s girth. The 3 strings I prepared last evening will definitely not cut it!

   This photo does not show it quite complete, but close and soon I
shall read aloud the Christmas Tree Blessing, which my father read for so many
years as my Mum and I joined in the responses. Last Christmas Alexander and
Sarah helped trim the tree and we read the Blessing together, this year it is
just me, but I shall still read it aloud, thankful for this pretty room, for
the candlelight, and for this lovely tree.

 Family Christmas Tree Blessing

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Who made heaven and earth. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he has come.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult. Let the sea roar and all the
creatures in it. Let the fields exult and all that is in them. Then let all the
trees of the forest shout for joy before the Lord when he comes to judge the
earth. He will judge the earth with righteousness and the peoples in good
faith. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he has