Monday, December 10, 2012

Embracing the light...and our time.



chalk drawing by Sunday School parent, Lauren Kindle

Santa Lucia
Christmas foretelling,
Fill hearts with hope and cheer,
Dark fears dispelling.
Bring to the world again,
Peace and good will to men.
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

This week during Sunday school, we remembered St. Lucia, the lady of light! While I chose to leave this day out for our young nursery playgarden children, I was very excited to bring this to our school age sunday schoolers. For the little child, Advent is filled with wonder throughout--adding yet another festival day just seemed like too much. They're still reeling from our St. Nicholas day and the anticipation of Christmas, of course. Less is more, truly!! I searched for a story which wasn't quite so gruesome as the actual events of her life and was very pleased when I found this one from the lovely blog Chocolate Fishies....I recommend this story for the older kindergartener, grade 1, and grade 2 :)

our own St. Lucia on Sunday

 On a cold and dark morning a girl went out to milk the family cow. She looked at the straw on the ground and she saw little snowflakes. It was a frosty, cold morning in December. The little girl greeted her cow and began to fill her pail with milk. She would take a break and blow on her hands to warm them up. When the pail was full, she heard her mother calling her, "Lucia! Breakfast is ready!" The father and mother had named her Lucia, meaning "Light," because when she was born, they looked out at the night sky and were amazed at how bright it was outside. The moon was full, but the parents thought that Lucia entering the world had brought the light to the sky.

Lucia thanked the cow for her milk and slowly walked towards the house with the full pail. She tried not to spill any milk on her dress. Her dresses often smelled of old milk. The night sky had disappeared & only the last star was left in the sky. The sun would be up soon to melt all the snowflakes she had seen.

While Lucia was eating breakfast with her parents, her father was telling her that her uncle had disappeared. Her father's brother was Lucia's favorite and only uncle. Her father told her that he had a guess where he might be & he was going to look for him that evening. Lucia begged to go with him, but her father said it would be too dangerous for her and she was to stay at home with her mother. Her father told her that many people were not too happy with Christians lately. He told her how some people did not think that Christians should not be able to live well.

Lucia could not stop thinking about the conversation she had had with her father while she was doing her morning chores. That night, after dinner, her father left the house. Lucia decided to follow him, because she wanted to know what had happened to her uncle. She followed her father for what seemed like eternity. He was obviously looking for something, but it appeared as if he could not find it. Finally her father went behind a large rock. Lucia ran up and slipped behind the rock as well. In front of her was a dirt path that led into a cave. She was scared, but she had come this far and she was determined to see her uncle. It was hard to see in the darkness, but slowly her eyes adjusted. She looked around the dark room. The floor was full of men and women. Some were sleeping, others were talking, still others were singing. Suddenly there, before her, were her father and uncle. She embraced them. Her father was surprised to see his daughter, but he did not scold her. The people in the cave were hungry. They asked for food. She remembered her own dinner. She didn't have any food to give them, but reassured them that she would bring them something to eat. Her uncle told her & her father that he would not leave his friends. He would remain in the cave until everyone was safe. He told Lucia and her father that they should join them in the cave along with mother because they were Christians as well.

That night, when Lucia and her father walked home, Lucia was telling him all her ideas for bringing back food for the people in the cave and her father wondered how much longer they would be safe inside their own home.

The next day Lucia and her mother cooked and baked all day long. At night they had plenty of food to bring to the people hiding underground. Lucia had armfuls of baked sweet bread to carry. It was a dark walk. Her mother put a ring of candles on her head, so they would light the way to the cave. When the people inside the cave saw Lucia walk in with food in her hands and candles on her head, they thought she was an angel. They were so grateful to the visitor who brought them light in the darkness and food to nourish their bodies.




We held our Advent Spiral Garden this past weekend in the beautiful 200 year old chapel in our church. Most of our playgarden families attended as well as friends, family, and parishioners. 
Depicted above are our 2 nursery employees at church helping me with some of the preparations:) They spent nearly 2.5 hours cutting gold stars and affixing candles into apples. Well done, ladies!


There are no photos to share from the festival itself....a camera isn't welcome during this reverent time...although there are a few images I will never forget from the evening. Watching the children find their way through the spiral; lighting their candles, picking just the right gold star to place it upon. A friend played beautiful lyre and provided some voice accompaniment, too, which was just lovely. 

Mother Mary, gently walking 
through the stars she makes her way:
"Wondrous stars so brightly shining,
greet my child on Christmas Day"

(lyrics from one of the Advent Spiral songs, from the Wynstones Winter collection)


The 2nd Week of Advent




Lastly, I spent the morning in our local Waldorf School Kindergarten as an observer and guest puppeteer. I sat all morning sewing and listening to the play of the children. Christmas was buzzing throughout the room....conversations about different religions, how high the heavens are, Hannnukah...just to name a few. I observed a nativity "puppet show" which lasted about 30 minutes. Before the "show began" (and they had worked so very hard to seat all of their friends!) two of the girls whispered to each other as they stood in front of their audience. "Please turn off all cell phones and no flash photography." I am not joking, every single child pulled out their "phones", gestured as if pushing buttons, and put them back into their pockets. 

This is the time we live in, my friends, and this is the time in which our children have chosen to come live. We must put aside any opinions or judgements and embrace it as good, true, and right.....this is most what a young child needs their caregivers, parents, and teachers to believe!










9 comments:

  1. Beautiful post to read, thank you!

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  2. I am really, really looking forward to your posts about this time of year (I mean I do look forward to them at every time of year but it seems very special right now) as the caustic shopping frenzy and screechy little "I want" tantrums in the isles has dampened my enthusiasm some what but you bring light back to it. Thank you for sharing with us :)

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  3. "This is the time we live in, my friends, and this is the time in which our children have chosen to come live. We must put aside any opinions or judgements and embrace it as good, true, and right.....this is most what a young child needs their caregivers, parents, and teachers to believe!"

    I really need to remind myself of this more often, your entire post was lovely, but those final words were exactly what I needed to see.

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  4. Rebecca, your warm words and soft photos have been such a balm to my heart during this season. Thank you for sharing. You last paragraph made me nod my head!

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  5. So beautiful! And I really, really appreciate you addressing "Less is more". I think in this internet world, we are so connected with all these ideas and traditions that we can sometimes feel pressured to do it all. It's sad, but I think we as mothers need permission to be "good enough" and we need encouraged to keep things simple, for our own sakes and for the sakes of our children.

    As always, I hope you'll consider sharing on the link up!
    http://ourseasonsofjoy.com/advent/waldorf-wednesday-15/

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  6. Thanks for sharing the story! Cadi @ Chocolate Fishies. :-)

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  7. I'm not sure how I feel about this version of the Lucia story, simply because it's so very different from the one I know about her sainthood and legend. A few years ago I helped the children at my church (Lutheran) put on a lovely Sankta Lucia pageant for the congregation, with narrated pantomime and music. Our story was in two parts, with the first part telling the story of her sainthood (Lucia was a brave young girl who was put to death for remaining chaste and refusing to marry a man she did not love), and the second part telling the legend that she guided ships of food for the starving people of Sweden in the dark of winter.

    Especially for children in grades 1 & 2, Waldorf Education teaches that the darkness of fairy tales and legends should not be avoided. It's a necessary part of stories that nourish the soul of the children and allow them to fully live in the goodness of the protagonist of the story.

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  8. As always your pictures are lovely and peaceful. Beautiful story, thanks for sharing it as well. Take care.

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  9. It is a lovely story and a wonderful "explanation" of the ring of candles worn on the head. :)

    The original legend of Saint Lucy IS gruesome and definitely not appropriate until second grade and even then, not so much. The full details can wait until revisiting the Saints in the context of medieval and Renaissance history in sixth and/ or seventh grade.

    I had a story come through on Saint Lucy's day last week. Sorry that it is a little late for sharing, but here it is. I feel that it is appropriate for K-2nd, but unless the K & 1st are going to be involved in a Santa Lucia pageant or festival, it can wait for Second Grade. I personally never celebrated St. Martin or St. Lucy's days in Kindergarten. I feel they belong to Second Grade. Private family situations may certainly differ.

    Blessings for the Holy Season. If you might be interested in my "Musings" on a way to re-visit gift giving through the 12 Holy Nights, please feel free to e-mail me at Golden3000997 (at) cs.com or come see me on Facebook and I will send you links to the posts! I also have lots more fairy tales and seasonal stories that I am happy to share.

    With warm holiday wishes,
    Christine Natale

    A Little Story for Saint Lucy's Day

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10811968/Stories/A%20Little%20Story%20for%20Saint%20Lucy's%20Day%20by%20Christine%20Natale%202012.pdf

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