After I became a parent, I wanted to slow down the approach to Christmas for our young children. I hoped to celebrate more than one morning with presents under the tree, and wanted them to understand the story behind the familiar Nativity pageant scene of robed humans and animal acolytes. That was when I rediscovered the weeks of Advent in a new way, through the Godly Play story and its words:
Watch. Pay attention. Something incredible is going to happen
A king was coming, who would be a baby, born in a barn
This is full of mystery, and a mystery can be hard to enter if you don’t get ready
During this time, we are all on the road to Bethlehem
There are people who have gone before us, to help us to know the way
I shared these finger labyrinths recently at a program about Advent. A labyrinth is different than a maze, because while it may wind and turn, it is always leading toward the center. When we walk a labyrinth, we are present to the journey itself. During these weeks, we are inevitably on our way to Christmas Day. On the path of these days, we may sometimes find ourselves feeling closer to the mystery and wonder of Christmas — and sometimes, in the busyness of the season, we may feel farther from them. Like a labyrinth, Advent is a reminder both to keep going and to be present to what is around us.
As we prepare again for the arrival of Christmas, may we continue to accompany one another with love, and seek to build the kingdom of God, the beloved community, here. For even with all the worries of this life, we are on the path to Christmas — we draw nearer with each step in the days ahead.
With gratitude and wonder,
Melinda Wenner Bradley
Youth Religious Life Coordinator
(We’ll also talk some about Christmas preparation/resources at Thursday’s RE Conversation!)
- Last December, Friends shared about new ways their meetings were gathering and celebrating in this PYM News story, “Christmas Together in New Ways.” Many of these ideas will be great again this year!
- This “Reverse Advent” activity for families. includes suggestions for giving to local food cupboard or shelter and holding neighbors in the Light during the weeks leading to Christmas.
- Seeking Wonder and Light in the Spirit of this Season from the Quaker Religious Education Collaborative includes MANY ideas and resources for Friends.
- Slides from last month’s “Journeys to Christmas: Preparing for the Season A Community of Practice Conversation” includes both Godly Play/Faith & Play ideas and others as well.
- Books! There are so many wonderful choices for this season . . .
Anti-racism Learning and Action
For parents and adults working with children
Bevy & Dave Publishing! Bevy & Dave have added books to their line of educational toys and puzzles to further their mission to change the narrative of Black history and build young leaders through fun and engaging learning tools designed for preschool to elementary-age students. “Through play, children develop knowledge and understanding, are inspired to be their best selves, and empowered to contribute their best to society.” A one-of a- kind kids journal and the first volume of a new book series will be available before Christmas.
Stay in touch!
Visit PYM Religious Education for resources and support. This story was shared in the Tote Bag e-newsletter for Religious Education and Family Resources. Subscribe to receive the Tote Bag here, but choosing “Religious Education.”
When you find, “I have a question about resources, programs . . . or a great idea to share!” reach out to Melinda Wenner Bradley, Youth Religious Life Coordinator, MWennerBradley@pym.org