Advent at Grace Upstairs

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Visit from St. Nicholas

A visit from St. Nicholas deepens the mystery of Advent.

By Catherine Turnbull
Christian Education Director

Jerome Berryman, the theologian whose work we rely on in our storytelling upstairs, says that we need Advent because the mystery of the Incarnation is so big that it takes several weeks to get ready to enter it. He reminds us how common it is—how easy—to walk right up to this Mystery (or even through it!) without noticing any mystery at all.

Welcome to the modern Christmas season, yes?

During these four Sundays of Advent, because we know the temptation to let the season swirl past us, the adults upstairs will be gathering with the children around the slow journey that leads to Emmanuel. Each week, we’ll tell just a part of the Advent story and mark it with the lighting of an Advent candle. The following week, we’ll start at the beginning and add another part, until we’ve lit all four candles and Jesus is born.

The mysterious Incarnation is a fine opportunity for wondering, and not just for children, of course. Along those lines, I offer you this excerpt of a song by a guy named Peter Alsop. It’s called, When Jesus Was a Kid. Perhaps a list of questions like these would be fun to generate at Coffee Hour?

It’s Christmas time again and the mall is really weird
Everyone gets stressed out Christmas shopping every year
I have to stop and wonder, looking at my Christmas list
When Jesus was a kid, would he be doing this?

I know he was a baby, but did he ever cry?
Did Jesus wet his diapers or were they always dry?
Did he use a bottle before he used a cup?
Did Jesus throw things on the floor for Mary to pick up?
Did Mary ever spank him? Does the Bible say?
Did Jesus scream and holler when things didn’t go his way?
I know he was a baby, but I wonder what he did
When he was about, my age, … when Jesus was a kid?

Did he have birthday parties? I like to think he might
But then I have to wonder, well, like, who did he invite?
Were there other kids in bathrobes who played tag the
way we do?
Was he bummed out when his birthday gifts said “Merry
Christmas” too!?
Did Jesus put on sunscreen, or did he wear a floppy
hat?
Living in a desert, you can sunburn just like that!
And he prob’ly hated eating “camel milk with mushy peas”
Or can saviors just get out of eating gross things when they
please?

(copyright 1991, Moose School Music)

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