Costumed children rehearse in front of a cardboard barn and lighted star. Fits of giggling interrupt the serious scene when they made mistakes or their nerves show. A patient director (the writer of the play) laughs along and their heads bend in together to hear instruction and encouragement.
'Angels' receive their tinsel halos, jostling and making faces as they wait for their turn. Later they will share their crayons as they look up at their senior friends acting out a Christmas narrative.
A banner adorned with the fourth Advent candle walks across the sanctuary carried on long poles. It will be carefully raised to join it's sisters high on the walls, surrounded by watching and guiding hands and eyes.
Fingers on a sound board test levels and prepare microphones.
Tables are erected and laden with paper, glue and scissors, beads, foil and string, cookies and frosting. A celebration of sugar and creativity will be feasted on in this space.
People come in from the chill to bright poinsettias and hot coffee. All around hugs and greetings and laughter are shared.
In that moment, the Advent of Christ was palpable. We were waiting. We were preparing. We were making ready for worship and fellowship and for God-with-us. The anticipation joy was everywhere. And now, as we anticipate the new year I pray for my beloved Seattle Mennonite family that the joy may be sustained. May the potential energy of Advent be know in fulness as we live into 2012.