Saturday, December 13, 2008
Why I Love Our Wednesday Night Advent Gatherings
See this? That’s a devoted ring of young children—some really just toddlers—gathered closely about a devoted pastor, sitting on the floor by the light of a few Advent candles, listening to “Holy Ghost stories.”
This experience, weekly throughout Advent, has been among the first of my daughters’ conscious memories. I don’t think we’ve missed a single Advent gathering in the last 8 years—this being the 9th Christmas season. We brought Emma to her first Advent gathering when she was 18 months old, and ever since, it has been my absolute favorite regular gathering of the church.
The reason I love it so much is very simple, but, I think, very special, precious, and rare. I do love it that our pastor is sharing real pearls of wisdom with these children. That is very important. But they get solid teaching in a lot of areas of their lives. The reason I love it so very much is related more to what the context teaches them implicitly rather than explicitly.
This event is so special because we can all be sure that each week, this learned man who never fails to deliver some profound theological message to the church, will get down on the floor and gather these little children around himself in an intimate circle. He will call each of them by name. He will talk to them on their own level and invent some often silly game for their enjoyment as much as their edification.
The kids just love to be around him. And this parent just loves the fact that they feel so tenderly loved in their church home.
The Advent gatherings are for them. They know it. They enjoy the activities, but I dare say even more than that, they enjoy the attention from their pastor.
And I’d also venture to say that he enjoys it as well.