Dear Friends of the Atrium,
We have a presentation in Level II called the “Synthesis of the Infancy Narratives.” This is a very formal name for a very beautiful experience for the children that conveys a very powerful message. In this presentation, all of the materials for each ‘moment' of the Infancy of Christ - The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Nativity, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation in the Temple - are laid out in a long line on the floor. In front of each moment, is a tea light. As this is a synthesis, the children have all received the presentations of each of these moments individually. So what really stands out this time is the movement of the light.
The first candle is lit while reading the scripture for the Annunciation: an angel comes to Mary, she receives the Light, heaven touches earth. The second candle is lit with the light from the first, when Mary visits Elizabeth where the Light spreads from the little town of Nazareth, from a poor, young girl to another household in another town. Then the third candle, the moment of the Nativity where Jesus comes into the world, tiny and humble but still bright and mighty, fulfilling ancient prophecies. Then the fourth candle, where lowly, dirty shepherds are the first to receive the Light with an invitation to the throne of their Savior. The fifth candle is lit in front of the temple, where Simeon and Anna encounter the Light promised to God’s Chosen People. The sixth candle receives the flame from all of the previous candles and is set in front of the Magi, who came from the ends of the earth, following one light but being completely overcome by the One True Light.
In the silence that follows this lengthy and deep presentation, you notice that the room is brighter, the light has spread farther than where it started.
And isn’t this exactly the Hope we encounter during this Advent and Christmas season? The hope that the light of Christ could extend to one more corner of the world? To one more corner of our hearts?
Every session in the Joyful Child Atrium is a witness to hope. We see it when a child’s relationship with God is ignited and deepened. We hear it in the stories from parents whose faith has grown because of the faith of their children. We feel it when our community rallies to care for one another in prayer and action.
We don’t want to stifle that hope. We want to bring the Light of Christ to more families - regardless of financial situation, schooling situation, or special needs. We see that potential in our Atrium and we are working towards being a space that is part of a resurgence of faith and community in a weary world that is desperate for an opportunity to rejoice.
We invite you to be a part of that, by your donations and your prayers. Our Atrium functions on the back of many volunteers who are passionate about setting children before Christ and allowing him to work in their lives. Each year those tasks grow as our rosters grow and our space seems to shrink. It is a wonderful problem to have.
God bless you during this season and may Christ’s Light illuminate and ignite your heart.