Last Sunday marked the first Sunday of Advent, and our Multiage class met together with the preschool class to greet this new season with a beautiful opening ritual with candles, song, and prayer. After our opening gathering, our multiagers continued our exploration of Advent with a lively discussion based on the passage of Isaiah 40, which speaks words of comfort and hope for the people, as well as of a God who has unending strength, wisdom, and power. Our conversation steered toward the birth of Jesus and how this baby represents the comfort, hope, and peace that was foretold in Isaiah. As always, many wondering questions erupted from this conversation. Here are a sample of just a few:
We wondered: if God came to earth as Jesus, and God and Jesus are one, how is God Jesus’ father too?
We wondered: if God made the whole universe and knows it so well that He can name every star, who made God? How was God born?
We wondered: why are we making Christmas cards for criminals? Then we wondered: what would Jesus do? Would Jesus make cards and gifts for people in prison or would he ignore them and think they should be punished?
Some of these questions gave way to relatively simple answers, and some were much more difficult – prompting even more discussion. This is nothing new for our class though. Our children, ages six through eleven, often numbering 17-20 (or more!) children every time we meet, never fail to astound me with their depth of thoughtfulness and understanding. It is a joy to watch them process, wonder, and learn each week – the tough questions, the simple lessons, the classic stories – and in turn, teach me so much about God and the bible and the lessons within. We ended our discussion together last week with one last wondering question: what is your family’s favorite Advent tradition? Now this was a question that was easy for them to answer, and some of you even participated last Sunday at the Advent Event, adding your responses to our Christmas tree displayed downstairs. Here are some of the posted responses to your favorite Advent traditions:
Having Swedish meatballs on Christmas Eve
Watching Charlie Brown Christmas and A Christmas Story
Spending time with family
Putting up the crèche that I made many years ago – and having my granddaughter help this year!
Family gathering together
Making mint brownies!
Working on the Advent Craft Fair
The Advent Spiral
Making an Advent calendar
Singing Advent hymns as table graces – one for each day
Decorating the tree!
Picking out presents for needy children
We donate to an animal rescue
Having lobster on Christmas
Cleaning out old toys to make room for new and donating them to other children
We wrap 24 books (that we already own) and open and read one a night to count down to Christmas
Playing our special Christmas CD while we decorate
Watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas as a family
Picking a Christmas Tree!
May your Advent be filled with wonder and joy, two things our children bring consistently to their learning and explorations each time we meet. To experience this season through the eyes of a child is a gift, and one that I am blessed with every single Sunday. Thanks be to God!