Happy New Year!

     
It is not too often that Advent Sunday coincides with the first day of
December making it especially exciting to start a New Year today.

     I
bussed down to church this morning and busied myself with setting up for our
Children@St. Stephen’s activities. Since this morning was to be a Service of
Holy Communion, Nick and I had decided to have the activities on the dining
room floor, running concurrently with the sermon time, and then to have the
children rejoin the rest of the congregation to receive a blessing during
Communion.

   We
began Worship with a special responsive prayer from here, and the lighting of
the first Advent candle, after the opening set of worship songs and the Scriptures
the children and I slipped out into the dining room area.

   There
were 4 children of disparate ages so I divided them into 2 pairs of siblings.   The younger pair constructed a family Advent
wreath from a straw wreath frame, set on a metal tray. We wrapped the frame
with purple and gold braid, glued pinecones around the edges and then arranged
5 votive candles on the tray. (all highly flammable!!)

   Meanwhile
the older two were challenged to think of as many promises and gifts of the Spirit,
as they could come up with. Then each child cut 24 narrow trips of white paper
and wrote a promise on each piece. They were instructed to take them home and
form a paper chain by adding new link every day until Christmas.

   Both
groups seemed interested and engaged in their projects and it was lovely to
have everyone together to share in the Eucharist.

   Once everything was cleared up I headed home
on foot. It is way warmer today than last Sunday so the walk was really
pleasant and I took the scenic route (albeit uphill most of the way!) and
enjoyed the time pondering on Advent 1.

  As
the evening draws in I am getting ready to say the prayers and light the first
candle on my own wreath. Half a gallon of peppermint cocoa is currently warming
up in the crock-pot and I am awaiting the invasion of the Senior Youth Camp
Bible Study crew.

                                May
you all enjoy a Blessed Advent!