Our Advent theme or focus this year was “Light shines in the darkness.” Each week during Advent, we replaced the word light with the Advent word of the week (love, hope, joy, peace) had a Bible scripture to go with it, and then re-focused on the phrase “light shines in the darkness.” It probably was not the most original plan, but it kept us focused on Christ, on the promises to come, and most of, that Christ truly is the light of the world.
Not content to let wording be the end of it, the Sunday School superintendent and I came up with this overwhelming plan that each child/youth in the program was going to make a luminary that was going to decorate our worship space and the sidewalk outside on Christmas Eve. Weeks of collecting jars, decorating jars, finding glue on my office floor and one incident where I made the whole building smell like varnish made me think this was the stupidest idea I had ever tried to execute. Christmas Eve came, I was still frustrated, but I wasted the kids to see their jars all set up, so I set all the jars up inside for the noon time service. I enlisted some of the older HS youth to help light the candles, but it turns out we only had one working lighter (URGGGG) . 35 minutes later, all the candles were burning. At 6:00, I returned (armed with two more lighters) and we moved the jars to the sidewalk outside. The look was brilliant. The service did not even start until 7:00, but already people were gathering and were excited and the luminaries made the mode all the better. The kids were excited to find the jars they made, and even more excited when I told them they could take them home after the service. At 10:00, I returned to church yet again with my family and set up the jars (minus a few my kids had taken) for the last time. By now, I was really cheerful about it. Our light, which is truly Christ’s light, had shined in the darkness of that night.