Sunday, December 7, 2008

2nd Sunday in Advent - Time for Dress-up

After last Sunday's post, you probably realized that each Sunday in Advent, I want to post a bit about what our family is doing to celebrate this season. Today, I give you adventures in dress-up.

Every year, our church helps sponsor families at the Bethel Neighborhood Center. We pick one Sunday in December, put a tree out front with ornaments listing needed items, and then everyone brings their gifts that Sunday wrapped in white as gifts to the families, but more importantly to and in honor of Christ.

To help us visualize why we are bringing these gifts, the two more recently-born babies in our congregation are invited to be the baby Jesus at the altar along with their parents as Mary and Joseph, one family in each service. Sam was born in October, so after being member of the church for all of three weeks and having no idea what this tradition was about, we found ourselves three years ago performing this ritual. This year, we thought Noah was too old, and when we discovered that he actually was the second youngest baby in our congregation, we tried to pass the buck to another family who hadn't played the holy family before.

No such luck:As you can see, Noah (along with his new, ever-present, tuft of sticking-out hair) was Jesus along with Joy as Mary. In a way, it was nice to have both boys participate in the service separated by their three years. But whereas last time Sam slept the entire time and we could contemplate what it meant for the young family that evening so long ago, this time we had chaos. Why? Because of our shepherd (or as our pastor called him, Jesus's big brother):

That's right, Sam participated, and one of the pastors decided to leave a microphone on the stage ready to pick up everything Sam said as he rocked the (thankfully) empty manger back and forth. A few choice gems:

"Let's go get some of that bread" (today was communion Sunday as well)

"That's where the baby Jesus sleeps" (pointing to the manger)

"Can we go down and get the presents now?" (as the white gifts accumulated before him)

Both boys were actually extremely well-behaved, and Noah smiled at everyone the entire time, making everyone who came down the aisle smile back at him.

The event helped me remember that one of the gifts of Christmas is the child. There is something about a baby that calms our minds and our hearts, makes us smile, and helps us loose our normal inhibitions. I would never make the faces or the sounds I make for Noah to anyone else, not even Sam now. I don't smile as readily at anyone as I do Noah. I might fly off the handle at Joy or Sam, but not Noah. Babies are a gift of peace and contentment, even in the midst of sleepless nights. And isn't peace something the world desperately needs now in all its various meanings? How fitting that the image of a child reminds us of the promise of peace every year during Advent.


Tad and Monica said...

very nice thoughts...:)

Etta said...

I concur, and what precious memories you have made by doing this.