Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and you are invited home. Join the community of Sackville United Church at either 3PM via Zoom for our Christmas for Kids gathering (email us and we will send you the link) or at 7PM for our Christmas for All gathering via Facebook Live.
As you prepare to gather with us you will want to have a candle nearby - and perhaps have your family nativity set nearby.
Yesterday Anne Pirie shared with me the background to three of the four nativity sets at Sackville United Church. Anne writes,
I wanted to tell the story of these gifts... when we need a nest/sanctuary, what helps us nestle in?
Each of these nativity sets in our Godly Play space comes with a story within a story...through wise selection and generosity of Gary MacDonald who has an eye for these treasures and a deep understanding of the significance of place and stories.
The larger nativity set in the centre is from Palestine. It is hand carved olive wood and is a fair trade item purchased through Ten Thousand Villages at the fair held in Sackville ten years ago. Gary's keen eye noticed it and through the sponsorship of members of SUC congregation, we purchased it for our Sunday School. We were in temporary quarters in the Chapel at the time. This nativity set and a candle were all we had for gathering with Sunday School in the Manning room. It was a blessing and was all we needed. This set is one that we encourage the children to work with freely as desired. It will not break and feels smooth in your hands.
The little set on the right with the colourful robes is hand crafted pottery, hand woven material & painted from Guatemala where Gary travelled about 5 years ago. You will note there is a midwife, an angel and the other traditional figures including sheep; but, there is no shepherd. I wonder why there is no shepherd? (You would need to ask Gary to find out what the Guatemalans say about that. However, you may have your thoughts too.) This nativity set had a special place on the tall stool outside our Godly Play space upstairs at SUC. It was right at eye level for many children. It has been lovingly handled and carefully rearranged by many hands as the children were getting ready to enter the Godly Play Space on Sunday mornings.
The delicate little nativity set on the left has its own stable which is also a carrying case with a door and a tiny clasp. It is hand crafted with grass and wood in remarkable detail. If you look closely you will see the gifts offered by the magi and what is in the basket of the outstretched hands of one of the Magi kneeling before the Christ child. The tall shepherd is cradling a sheep in his arms. Gary brought this set from Nairobi, Kenya when he visited several years ago. It sits on the focal shelf in our Godly Play space, a testament to the story of God becoming incarnate in every human birth.
Grateful for the gifts among us and how small things show us the way!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
The Week Past and the Week Ahead:
This has been a busy week! Monday was filled with visits and meetings, as was Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I was able to visit at the Drew! It was so great to get to see members of the community that I'd not been able to see over such a long time! The afternoon was spent delivering cards and copies of the Christmas Eve bulletin to some folk followed by some writing time in the office.
I am taking the day off today as tomorrow will be a busy one!
Again, you are invited home tomorrow evening! Join the community of Sackville United Church on Christmas Eve at either 3PM via Zoom for our Christmas for Kids gathering (email us and we will send you the link) or at 7PM for our Christmas for All gathering via Facebook Live.