Tag Archives: Celebration of the Children

Turn and become like children

We just finished our Celebration of the Children and it was brilliant! Thirty some years ago our pastors conceived the idea of a church calendar where sacred events would be celebrated as a church family. We would celebrate the faithful, that “cloud of witnesses” such as the ones listed in Hebrews 11. We would set aside time to “turn and become like children.” The Celebration of Life Together would be time set aside to do just that.

But this week we celebrated God’s gift to us in our children. We usually start with a basic theme for the week, and this year we chose “time travel.” After a wonderful visit to the Dreamworks concert at the Hollywood Bowl, we had our spectacular opening day. Our seven kids became time travelers for the day. After climbing into their time machines they traveled to 6 destinations in history where they were needed to solve problems.

Each followed a different route to various times in history. They visited Ancient Greece where they trained for the Olympics in archery and javelin throwing and learned how to use their brains and the pulley system. There was a visit to Medieval Times where the children rescued the princess from a dragon lady with the help of a trusty steed and knights. They stopped in to help some cave people interpret their cave drawings and throw some rocks. Pyramid building and hieroglyphics were on the agenda for Ancient Egypt, and their help was required in China’s Ming Dynasty to repair the Great Wall and repel marauders. We all ended up in the Chat N Chew, a 50’s diner where we enjoyed shakes, floats, and burgers and danced at the sock hop.

We swam and played games together at the pool. The rest of the week we took day trips to the zoo, railroad museum, miniature golf, and flew some kites together. At night we gathered to play games, watch movies, and enjoy a crazy mixed-up dinner at the Time Travel Inn. We gave thanks at each gathering, and as the week closed we once again realized the great gifts God has given us in our children. Jesus himself blessed the children and exhorted us to become like them. Once again God teaches us through a Child. We look forward to the rest of our celebrations this year, especially anticipating our Celebration of the Faithful in August.

Celebrations

This seems like the ideal time to start writing a bit about our church celebrations throughout the year. Taking a page from our Roman Catholic brethren, we attempted to create something of a liturgical calendar. Many years ago we saw the need for Christians to create traditions more aligned with faith and practice. Consequently, we developed Celebration of the Faithful, Celebration of Life Together, Turn and Become Like Children, Celebration of the Children, and Celebration of Grace and Thanksgiving.

I will address this last item first as we are in the midst of it right now. Giving thanks is a necessary component of the Christian faith. Scripture abounds with references to thanks and thanksgiving. Many of King David’s Psalms are songs of thanksgiving, for example: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds.” (Ps 9:1) To choose but one of the many New Testament examples, Romans 7:25 says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Accordingly, we set aside this week to focus on gratitude in speech, prayer, and action. We began with a Gathered Worship emphasizing words of thanks. Sunday morning found us gathered with one of our sister congregations where we were treated to some wonderful singing, sax playing, and reflections upon God’s “Amazing Grace.” How sweet the sound indeed.

Wednesday night we will be together preparing for our feast. Working together is another form of worship, one which we hope He will find acceptable.Thursday about 50 of us will gather for our glorious repast at the church building where we will turn our attention on our honored guests: shut-ins, nursing home residents, the lonely and the hungry. We share stories, food for the soul, and, of course, lots of food for our bodies!

Friday will find us re-enjoying our banquet, gathering to give thanks, and then joining in on our traditional dance of the leftovers. This year we will be decked out in 80’s regalia as we dance the night away. Then some of us will head over to the bowling alley for midnight bowling. Whew! We hope that this whirlwind helps to put us in the thankful frame of mind that God wants to see in His children.

G.K. Chesterton reminds us: …” that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” More on other celebrations later, but for now and always may we be abounding in thanksgiving!