Today’s post is written by Geoff Twigg, Adjunct Professor at North Park University in Chicago. Geoff is a pastor, singer/songwriter, worship leader and ministry consultant, and serves the ECC as a member of the denomination’s Commission on Worship.
My friend and I went down from our fifth floor offices to the staff dining area this morning to get a refill of coffee. As we were leaving the lunch room he exclaimed: “Oh, that’s neat. They’re moving the wise men.” It was true – where previously the little models of those following the star were in the corner of the end window, now they’re about halfway across the second window sill. Then he explained further; he and his wife live near a school where they do the same thing. They have a big (maybe even life size) crèche, and it has the figures of Mary and Joseph, animals all around them and shepherds visiting.
At the beginning of December, you can see the figures of the wise men over by the parking lot. Each week when you pass, the magi have moved about twenty-five percent of the way, until it all comes together on Christmas.
When my wife and I were courting, she told me about a great family tradition; one which we continued with each of our children, too. Every year her mother would take large pieces of a heavyweight paper, (one for each child) fold them in half (the paper, not the children) and start to paint a scene on the front. Then, each night after the children had gone to bed, she would spend hours adding to the picture – not only more of the image, but also a small door. The door wasn’t numbered and was barely detectable, but behind lay a further image, often cut from a card or a picture book.
When the children came down to breakfast, they had to find where the calendars were hidden, then find their doors, and see how the revealed image complemented the picture on their Advent Calendar.
Many of us are looking forward to Christmas this year through our celebrations of Advent. In Matt’s blog last week he was asking for comments on your church’s favorite activities, carols and traditions for this season, and although replies were few we all know it’s not because such traditions are rare. We all have our favorite ways of anticipating the celebration of Christ’s birth. Maybe we’re all too busy lighting candles on wreaths, opening doors on calendars and moving wise men around…
Whether you have time to add comments to this blog or not, I pray that this season will bring you joy, excited anticipation and, as we minister together, a deeper sense of Emmanuel – “God with us”.