The Spanish courtyard outside our worship space has been turned into an Advent Waiting Room for the next 4 weeks, a sign on the door simply saying “Please wait to be called”. Little white lights glow upon the bushes and trees that dot the courtyard; parishioners gather around pots of warm cider and children chase each other, perhaps slightly rowdier than if their parents were not engaged in conversation. The church bell is soon rung by a spirited 5 year old girl, barely able to pull down the old rope enough to get the bell to move and we all begin singing “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” as the 130 of us enter the Episcopal parish hall that has been our church home for over 18 months now. The last of those to enter carry with them the candles from outside and place them on one of four ladders in each corner of the room. A sign saying “hope” hangs from the first ladder, ones saying “joy”, “love” and “peace” on the others. After the call to worship, confession and absolution, and the opening hymn, a 6 year old boy proudly and expertly lights the first Advent candle and we speak of waiting, anticipation and hope.
As with sermons and liturgies and music, we can plan it, and we can plan it in good faith and yet we never know what will “work” and if it works, what the impact will be. All of this is to say, I was blown away at what a young mother at House for All Sinners and Saints wrote today about why she’s grateful for Advent at HFASS.
Here are her words:
Just thinking today how grateful I am that Zane’s Christmas memories this year will be filled with moments shared in the Advent waiting room, running through the courtyard with friends, the smell of incense, singing carols in a bar, candles lit, and the community of our church. So often I feel (always foolishly erroneously) it’s all up to me to make memorable moments for him, especially at holiday times. I am so thankful that our community at HFASS will be playing such a large role in that this year and likely doing a much better job of it! ♥
Also, just a reminder that as we adults share in this time of waiting and beauty and community, the children are watching us and they are soaking it all in. What a gift we are giving them!
Reason #452 to be a part of a worshipping community: You do not have the sole responsibility for creating holiday memories for your children.
I never would have thought of that one. I’m so grateful for my parishioners who show me again and again what this thing is about.