December is a month that is packed with excitement and expectation. This year the build up to Christmas has felt more desired and needed than other years. I unpacked decorations early, starting planning Christmas meals in October and began listening to Christmas carols in early September. I seemed to be trying to bring the excitement and sense of expectation that I associate with December and Advent earlier into the year to mask or perhaps help me temporarily forget that the world feels so different to previous years. I wonder if anyone else has done anything similar?
Luckily, a lot of The Family Project’s plans and projects enabled me to engage in the Advent excitement and expectation too. On Sunday 29th November at 2pm we will have our Messy Gingerbread Nativity baking session and story. This can be found on the Kirkby Lonsdale Messy Facebook Page. The opportunity to gather together, bake and hear a retelling of the Nativity story is for me a perfect start to Advent. The fact that we have partnered with the Zero Pantry to purchase local plastic free ingredients for our baking session is a welcome bonus to our baking activity too. We can engage in a Christmas spirit filling activity without having environmental anxiety regarding the amount of plastic these activities often involve.
Heather Sattin and I have enjoyed organising The Kirkby Lonsdale Living Advent Calendar these last few months. We are thankful that so many people were keen to take part in this adventure. We do hope people will be able to spend time during Advent, going around Kirkby Lonsdale and seeing all the different carols portrayed in the window displays. Please pick up a map showing which windows are taking part from The Tourist Information Centre or St. Mary’s Porch. Alternatively, print off a map and see pictures of the windows on our Facebook Group which is called Kirkby Lonsdale Living Advent Calendar 2020. A new window is being unveiled each night at 6pm and the maps will show which windows will be unveiled and when. If you do go along to an unveiling, please ensure you stay 2m apart. All windows that are already unveiled will be ready for viewing from dusk until 9pm every night during December. Enjoy and feel free to share images of these windows with those you love and care for during this Christmas period. We hope they will bring joy to many people.
One of the things I love doing during December is putting up my Christmas Tree. If you are like me, a lot of different decorations hold specific treasured memories of perhaps a person or a place. This year, Pauline, Annie and I have created Jesse Tree decorations that you can print off and use to make your own Jesse Tree filled with decorations and scrolls. What is a Jesse Tree? A Jesse Tree is a tree that uses decorations and stories ( we have popped these into scrolls for you) that help you prepare for the coming of Jesus on Christmas day. Each decoration and story helps us remember a different member of Jesus’ family. In total we have created 16 stories to accompany 16 decorations. You could print them off all at once to pop them onto your own Jesse Tree or perhaps make decorating your Jesse tree a bit like a countdown to Christmas by printing 4 stories and the matching 4 decorations each week. To find these decorations and stories please join the Facebook group kl.church Jesse Tree. If you are not on Facebook please email me and I will send you them to you: email@example.com
I wonder what new traditions we will all start this year after living during such strange times? I wonder what new discoveries about ourselves and what we value at Christmas will we find? However this Christmas is for you, I hope you can find some element of peace and hope in the Nativity story;a story which can seem so familiar yet if we look at it closely nearly always surprises us with a new thought or reflection. Have fun reflecting and have a Merry Christmas.