Thanksgiving dinner - the recipe for the stuffing is from grandma, uncle Phil always takes care of the turkey, the pumpkin pie travels about 500 miles, and everybody at the table knows the story about aunt Rachel's squash casserole.
We know the traditions, and when the children are old enough to sit at the "big" table, they have learned the stories that go with every dish. Yes, it was Jan who introduced the cranberry sauce whith horseradish in it - must have been 1987 or 1988. She heard it on the radio.
At Vine Street, we have a beautiful tradition to mark the beginning of Advent. On the Wednesday night after the first Sunday of Advent, we gather in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens. We sing some of our favorite carols (before we get tired of hearing them in every mall, bank lobby, and gas station); we hear stories about bells, stars, evergreens, and poinsettias; we deck the sanctuary with wreaths, garlands, and candles; we watch the great star as it rises over the baptistery; we say a prayer or two that our hearts may be prepared to welcome the birth of Christ. And afterwards, we enjoy some cookies and cider.
This is a festive and yet quite informal service we all enjoy - from our little three-year-olds to our eighty-three-year olds. It's a great way to enter the gates of Advent. It's a great way to learn the stories behind some of our Chrismas traditions. And it's a great way to make new friends. Come and join us on Wednesday, December 2, at 6 PM for the Hanging of the Greens.