Advent 1 begins a particularly rich season in the Atrium. Naturally children excitedly anticipate Christmas , but assisting adults consistently remark on the wonderful gift of a weekly time and place to slow down. They too enjoy what the Catechesis calls Infancy Narratives: Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary; The Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth; The Shepherds and the Birth of Jesus; the Magi; and for the oldest, Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple. Advent invites us to consider prophets and their role ( to hear messages from God, and tell others what they hear) and, specifically on Advent 1, we read Isaiah 9:2, “Now those people live in darkness, But they will see a great light. They live in a place that is very dark. But a light will shine on them.”
Advent 1 in Atrium 1 flew by this past Sunday. We worked on lessons of the Annunciation, geography and the change in liturgical season. One of our 6 year olds also busied herself with our Altar work, and when she asked me to read 1 Corinthians 4 as we lit the candles, I thought: what could this verse possibly have to do with anything pertaining to Advent?
Some background: The Catechesis’ altar materials teach the nomenclature for articles used in Holy Communion. Our arrangement includes a small New Testament rather than the Lectionary Book. And although this item is technically taught to second year children, all children from Day One ask the adult to “read from the Bible” when the candles are lit and we pause before the set table. Some children happily choose what page to read, and some know Jesus’ words appear in red. But all of them carry a deep desire to connect the Word of God with the preparations for the Meal.
This altar preparation was no different, except: do I honor the child and her choice, or do I steer us to more familiar ground, such as John 8: 12 or John 10: 11? I decide to go with the flow. What a surprise:
“This is what people should think about us: We are servants of Christ. We are the ones God has trusted with his secret truths.” (verse 1) “ So do not judge before the right time: wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light things that are now hidden in darkness. “ (verse 5)
Two of the most basic Advent themes we put before the children were put right before my eyes. One, we wait for God. Two, God’s Light of the World, Jesus, dispels all darkness. Is there a more concise place in Scripture to find these together? I don’t know!
But I do know that once again I’ve been shown the powerful combination of child and Holy Spirit. Their collaboration gives fruit to adults wise enough to trust them.