Thursday, November 18, 2010

November to Remember: Community Events

The fresh, sweet scent of pine boughs washed over me as I pulled open the door to the parish hall. Down below, a golden light shone on the steps. As I descended into the mass of children, grandparents, singletons, youth and marrieds, I saw lots of fingers being licked clean of icing. Women at one table tied knots in a fleece for a community blanket drive. Men stood watch over the hammers and staples, glue guns, and catching the occasional toddler with yet ANOTHER cookie.

The community advent wreath-making event is a special time of year. Since advent falls just after Thanksgiving, St. Joseph's wanted to be sure homes were set up and ready to roll with their candles and pine boughs BEFORE the bedlam of the winter holiday season. I love this time of helping hold candles, eating sugar cookies,and visiting with people I rarely see otherwise. Everyone is happy, save for the sugar- cookie-raiding toddler who was intercepted by a doting dad.

In a world SO divided by economics, geography, political ideology, and even religious doctrine, on this night, we gather together to ready for two things. As Nordic descendants, we follow the practice of our ancestors in marking the time until the sun returns, candles lit in order from being darker in color to lighter. We remember their long-suffering in the cold, dark north (and are SO glad they chose to migrate west and south to the 49th parallel). As Christians, we adapt this practice to anticipate the celebration of the birth of the Messiah at Christmas (which falls, curiously enough, very near the winter solstice--purely symbolic, I assure you).

On this night, we share our wealth, a location, faith that the sun will return, and forget how we voted. We hold one another's children, prepare gifts for the less fortunate, volunteer our time to set up or tear down, bake, or harvest boughs. We move in patterns that would indicate we share one big house as a family.

Today I am thankful that I live in a population that still practices being a community.

No comments:

Post a Comment