Yes, it's official, the Christmas preparations are starting. And I love all the fun of making little Christmasy crafts and addressing Christmas cards and making gift lists. I don't so much love trying to buy tickets for holiday travel online, but I love that my son asks every day when we are going to see "grandma and grandpa" and "other grandma and grandpa" next. (Grandparents, if you're reading, the title "other" switches depending on who he's visited most recently.) It is time to prepare!
With the holly and the ivy come the familiar stories of preparation. Read in worship, explored with children in Sunday school, retold at home around our Advent candles and nativity. And so we come to a new project for me:
Recently I discovered Ralph Milton's The Family Story Bible, and I immediately wondered why I hadn't heard of this collection sooner. Milton's stories are Bible and storytelling and a dose of child-sized theology all in one. It's risky, embellishing a children's Bible with a bit of your own storytelling. I've pushed aside dozens of children's Bibles for just this fault. And yet Milton's storytelling is engaging, his theology brings out biblical concerns for justice and peace, and his adaptations are not mere sermonizing, they seem to be a successful effort at bringing some dense passages of scripture into a child's focus. (I'm already loving his creative solution to exploring the not-so-kid-friendly advent passages out of Isaiah.)
Today I sat down with the Lectionary Year B version. Are you familiar with the Lectionary? Many churches use some form of a three-year list of readings to guide the passages that will be used in worship each Sunday. The idea is that if you show up to church for three years you'll hear most of the major stories of the Bible told at times appropriate to the church year.
The new church year begins on November 27, the first Sunday in Advent. We're moving into Year B, hence the version I ordered. And this year I'm going to try to read through the Lectionary Story Bible on my own, on this blog and hopefully with my son. I don't have too much control over that last one, and I'll admit that these tellings are better suited for elementary school than preschoolers. I'll let you know how that goes and what adaptations I make as we go along.
But for now, know that I'm slowly planning some ways to add a bit of theology to the craftiness on the blog. For me they kind of go together--these are the two main ways I express my creativity and passion. And they're both part of making a home, setting a table, inviting folks to conversation. I hope you'll pull up a chair and join in.