Greenbelt Community Church is having a Christmas Festival on the Lawn this Sunday (December 11th). This is a first-time event, but its roots are in the past.
During the Pandemic I served as Interim to a church in Middletown, Maryland. We were not able to meet safely indoors, so our imaginations stretched. Our Choir Director remembered attending outdoor Christmas festivals in Germany. Immediately we thought how we might transform our parking lot into a gathering place for a live nativity, caroling, and hot cider and hot chocolate.
When I finished my seminary training, I worked as a Director of Christian Education at an Episcopalian Church in NW Washington DC. Father Joseph always made gingerbread cookies for the children on the second week of December because that was the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Nicholas. I’m sure the selection of gingerbread was because that was one of his favorites, not because St. Nicholas is known for enjoying that flavor. Nevertheless, it made this Advent Time of year special.
Sunday afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 PM we will have stations set up so you and your friends and your neighbors can enjoy all the activities mentioned plus more. It is a time to invite the community to our space and celebrate the story we have to tell. Please be sure to come and bring others!
Now for some holiday trivia. St. Nicholas Day is Tuesday, December 6. It is a time to recognize the 4th Century saint that is the inspiration for Santa Claus. He was known for selling all his possessions and giving his money to the poor. He dedicated his life to caring about those who were sick or who were suffering. A tradition in the Netherlands is that small gifts would be placed in the shoes of children the night before St. Nicholas’ Day. That tradition has spread to various countries as people remember the life of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra and line up their shoes.