by Dan Peeler
Minister for Children and Families
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2.19
A Word of Hope
In the Season of Christmastide, it is very helpful to remember that all the preparation and buildup we have shared for the last several weeks were not just for a single day of celebration that ends at midnight, December 25th. Our ancestors who originally came up with the idea of the twelve-day Christmastide season must have realized that all the words we hear every year about God manifesting Incarnate in the world should take the average person a little longer than a single day to grasp. And likewise, that the Christmas withdrawal so many of us feel is lessened if we savor the season gradually rather than devouring it in one sitting like a plump slice of pumpkin pie.
Christmastide is a good time to contemplate the symbols that still surround us; to ponder their origins. Did you know that mistletoe was thought to have eternal life since it remains green after its host tree has dropped all its leaves, and that kissing your partner under a bundle of the plants will assure that your love will last forever? - Or that holly is symbolic of Jesus' Crown of Thorns, with the red berries being the drops of blood? Each year in the Children's Ministry, we roll out a large multi-compartment cabinet version of an Advent Calendar on which we play our Symbols of the Season game, counting down the days until Christmas while learning a little more about the origins of these traditions.
Another constant in the Children's Ministry, and the most appropriate symbol of this season, graces our church year-round; the new-borns and infants who remind us we have the opportunity that Mary herself had; to be a part of nurturing, guiding and supporting a new life, believing always in the hope these tiny members of the Body of Christ have brought into our world. Being part of their lives through actions or prayer can make the joys of Christmastide last considerably longer than twelve days.
God of Wisdom, help us to recognize your face in the shining faces of the youngest among us.