This past weekend, we celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas at our Episcopal church where I currently serve as director of religious education...what a lucky girl I am to have such a job. It's been a little bit over a year since I started this position. It has had its ups and downs, but in the end, I really, really enjoy it. Especially this time of year....
This year, I am also teaching Sunday school for our elementary and kindergarten aged students. We use the Montessori inspired curriculum Godly Play, which is deeply rooted in story telling, beauty and wondering. I really love caring for my own classroom; arriving early to prepare the space and bringing light in any way that I can.
"Today St. Nicholas is in the heavens. Every year on his birthday he starts on his journey down to the earth. He asks for his white horse and journeys from star to star. There he meets Mother Mary, who gathers silver and golden threads for the shift of the Christ Child. Mother Mary says to him: "Dear St. Nicholas please go again to the children and bring them your gifts. Tell them, 'Christmas is nigh and soon the Christ Child will come.'"
classroom artwork by Sunday school parent, Lauren Kindle
This past Sunday, I told The Story of St. Nicholas of Myra ....while there are so many stories, I chose the version by Margaret Meyerkort (find the text online here) noted contributor of the Wynnstone series and other wonderful work.
While I am now accoustomed to working with the nursery aged group at this time, this was something different for me. The story I have been telling for the nursery aged playgarden children is much more simple and full of nothing but goodness:) Truly, what needs to come across most for this age group is the world is good!
Our Sunday school children received prayer cards, bookmarks, golden coins, honey sticks, and a walnut shell beeswax candle in their shoes. (I finally figured out a great way to crack the walnut shells in half without ruining them! I'll share during my next post..)
They also got a surprise visit from St. Nicholas during church time!
W was enthralled. He just stood there the entire time looking at St. Nicholas in total awe and wonder. How larger than life he must have appeared.
More St. Nicholas to follow this Thursday.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness
and put upon us an armor of light...
(Book of Common Prayer)