Noticings – November 29, 2023

“Faith’s halls are now well and truly decked.”

Last Sunday was our annual ‘Advent Event’ pot-luck lunch and church decorating party. First, the food was wonderful. As always! I had some extra things to attend to after worship so I didn’t get to the food line until some had already finished. Happily, there was still abundance on the serving table. I was able to have tastes of everything on offer. (There was even still food when I went back for a wee bit more!) And don’t even think about the word ‘diet’ when church pot-luck desserts are around. I wanted to taste everything, but couldn’t. There was just so much!

Then, after lunch, the decorating began. We put on some Christmassy music and folks dove in to their tasks. Within minutes there were crews of people scurrying about in the sanctuary, in the sun room, in the atrium, in the hallway, and upstairs in the living room. It was wonderful to watch the various spaces be transformed into wintery fare.

My favourite aspects of the day (besides the food!) were about the spirit of it all. There was joy in the air. There was commitment to the work, but also a grand sense of generosity as people helped one another, and came together to make their spaces look great. Of course, there were problems to be solved, and things that needed extra hands to make work, and it was all done with obviously glad hearts.

Perhaps my favourite part though was watching the kids work on decorating a tree in the living room. There were not always adults around guiding them, but they did a fantastic job making it lovely, while still being kids and having silly fun.

More than one person, me included, thought it would be a great idea if all those people would come over to our houses and decorate up our sacred spaces too! But no, I guess I’ll have to do it without them.

Our Advent Event always launches the festive season in such a great way. Seeing familiar things like the Advent candle wreath, the mitten tree, and the large nativity figures makes it easy to get into the spirit of planning candle lighting litanies, and special services, and all the events that a December in church brings. I’m very grateful for all the helping hands that took part as Faith’s halls are now well and truly decked. I hope everyone is dazzled by the décor – and transformed by the tinsel – and rapt by the wreaths. It is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. But remember – we need to journey through Advent first. Four weeks of hopeful, peaceful, joyful, loving anticipation of the birth of the Christ child. And so the way to the manger has begun. It’s a blessing that we get to make this journey together every year, because December can be a challenging time. Poet Wendell Berry expresses this most beautifully. About December he says, “It gets darker and darker and darker, and then Jesus is born.” Yes, indeed! And our beautiful church lights our spirits on the way.