gifts of the season

:: three small, bright turns that have found us in these first few days of Advent ::

when i told the woman in charge of the altar guild that Nicolas had said he was excited for Advent “because the church is so pretty,” she wanted to find a way for the children to be a part of dressing the altar.  the altar cloth is a flowering shoot from the root of Jesse.  there are four candles that are added to the branch, one for each week of Advent.  she let the children choose the placement of the candle and put it up.  but beforehand she taught them how to approach the altar–to stop and bow before continuing with the work, to bow again when they were finished.  she was careful and open and let them do the work, everything a good teacher should be.


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we purchased an extra wreath with the idea to share it with one of our neighbors.  we spent the ride home suggesting different people, finally settling on giving it to the owner of our first house here in St Johns–the house where our girl took her fist steps, where our second child was born.  when he moved back to town, we had to find a new place to live.  but we’re just a few blocks away, and often see him at the grocery or post office.  he was watching football when we came with our gift.  he was gracious and grateful.  he said, “this is what Christmas is all about!”  and we said our goodbyes and headed off to the library before they closed.


while we were out doing our little bit of elving, the elves visited us too!  on our front porch were three Advent calendars–the chocolate kind!  i have a feeling that these came from our former letter carrier, Barbara.  she makes deliveries even on Sundays!


  1. I am trying to learn to bow toward the altar…there’s so much to remember! Church right now feels like a crazy game of turning pages frantically, kneeling, standing, kneeling, more pages, trying to find the note on that crazy-high hymn, and on and on. 🙂 We’ll get there eventually.

    Love this post.

  2. Amy–it is such a blessing to know and be known by such generous people! that’s what links these three small experiences: they are blessings.

    thank you, Chris…peace keep you as the days grow short.

    Tonia–have you read Barry Lopez in his book Arctic Dreams on bowing? so good. about acknowledging the presence.

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