"Who would have known that making our building into an advent Calendar would change my whole outlook on Christmas. It shocked me.
I have to admit that occasionally I have had a bit too much of Christmas (I am human) after working in a Christmas Store every day for 365 days a year for 39 years. My personal Christmas is always lovely and I try and get excited every year for the coming of the season – it is a bit harder some years than others. But this year it hasn’t been hard at all.
The whole idea of the advent calendar is to prepare yourself for the coming of Christmas. I have been working on putting together this Advent event by gathering groups to paint canvases for the building for months now. After we had no response to our call out to artists to do the canvases (understandable with the economy in slump) I thought of seeing if preschools would be interested and then church youth groups – and they were!
My first school to join us was the Old Presbyterian Meeting House Preschool. My kids went there a million years ago and as a coop preschool, I thought they would like it. Tania, the director, embraced the project wholeheartedly and personally painted the pictures with each class. I was excited to see the result – but I wasn’t ready to cry over the canvases.
Yep, the artwork the kids produced brought me to tears. Sounds a bit dramatic, but to see how they painted outside the lines in such cheery colors simple images that bring Christmas to mind – candy canes, mittens, bells, gingerbread, Christmas trees and stockings – well it was so sweet, I just teared up. The kids have their names on their artwork and the name of their classes too! It brought back memories of working with my kids – now all teens – on holiday projects. I miss those days!
Well – that was just the beginning. I worked with my youth group for two nights first sketching and then painting our two canvases. We had Jennifer’s mom – an artist – help us draw the train with animals coming out of the cars and the girls just free-style drew a camel between two palm trees. They picked a bright yellow background that just makes the picture and we all giggled about how the heck a camel’s mouth and nostrils look. Patrice and Laura and Alece (sp) drew stars in the sky over our Christmas train. We all bonded as we added our finishing touches to the canvases including our groups name and bible verses that the girls thought matched our work of art.
The next day, I got to work tired and cranky until I opened up my email of Maurisa’s son’s preschool – St. Anthony’s pictures. Okay, my favorite is the town of Bethlehem at the bottom of the canvas and a giant glowing light coming from the town. You know, if adults had painted it – it would have a star – but the kids have a bigger than life blob of yellow that takes over the canvas – yes really big, because what is in the town of Bethlehem is really big – baby Jesus. Got to love those kids – tears again!
But wait – there was another picture of Santa flying over brightly colored houses that I would love to buy in the auction. It made a huge smile come over my face and I keep thinking of the image again and again as the day goes by.
Good Shepherd’s Youth Leader, Miguel, dropped off the three canvases they painted later in the day. First off I have to tell you Miguel is a gifted artist. He produced a stained-glass type image of the three kings over the Christ child – spectacular! He had a young woman in his group paint an angel image that is just great and then his youth group worked together to do a simple, effective shepherd with sheep. I was really impressed with the shading on this one—after tying to paint my own background – I realized how hard that is. Wow – these kids are talented.
Join us on December 1st for the kick-off to the event. The first painting will be revealed! We look forward to seeing you.