07 December, 2010

I’m warning you now; this is going to be a long post…

On Friday night, I had a surprise visit from my friend Ra, who I went to George Fox with. Ra did Mission Year last year in Philadelphia and was here for the weekend working on some stuff with Mission Year. It was great to see her and talk with her!

Saturday was our Christmas party for the Georgia Justice Project. It was held at a big, beautiful church in downtown Atlanta. The party was for clients of GJP and their families. We served a meal, played Christmas bingo and sang Christmas carols. At the end of the party, Santa Clause came out and took pictures with the children. Then, while everyone was leaving, each child was given a specific gift, wrapped and with his or her own name on it!

For the Christmas party, I was in charge of a walk-on nativity play. My roommates Emily and Maureen came to help out. We recruited about ten children to be in our play. When it was time for them to get their costumes on, we announced for the children in the play to come to the front. About twice as many came up and wanted to be in it. So we quickly dressed them in costumes; we had Mary and Joseph, Shepherds, Angels, and Wise Men. Emily slowly read the Nativity Story from Luke and the children were supposed to walk across the stage and act out their parts. But children are children, and they ended up just all standing together in the middle of the stage, looking confused. It was chaotic but absolutely adorable! I think all of the children had a lot of fun! I took a lot of pictures, so I hope you enjoy them!

Ashley played the piano for the party

The Kung Fu demonstration

Chris in his festive sweater vest

Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds

Our entire cast

The Three Kings (and One Queen)

Our lovely angels

Some shepherds

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus

Doug (our executive director) and Santa

Santa and Sanchez (one of our social workers)

The Mission Yearers and Santa!
(Emily, Me, Colyn and Maureen)

December 4 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:

The Child with the Star on His Head from Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Christmas Volume VIII

At the GJP Christmas party, I got to meet one of our attorney’s 8-month-old son. He was adorable and he had a big yellow star sticker on his forehead. For the rest of the day, I had this song stuck in my head. You can listen to it here. I really like this song, as it urges us to get back to the story of Jesus. In this post-postmodern, technologically advanced society, people think they have everything figured out. We have gotten caught up in all of these worldly things (Sufjan lists the world of sports, dictionaries, and television, among others), but these things are empty. The lyrics beautifully depict that there is something more to life and Jesus provides that for us.

Why crawl around in the snow

When you know I am right here

Waiting for you to expect something more?

For I am warm, I am calling you close to my table

Where I have made us a feast

For the year of troubles, they have gone

The winter brings a Christmas song

It’s quite a long song, complete with drums, electric guitar, trumpets and a bit of piano. It gets quite chaotic in the middle, but is kept steady by Sufjan’s singing. Towards the end he truly gets into the “Astral Inter Planet Space Captain” side of his music. The last three minutes make me feel as if I’m about to get on Space Mountain at Disneyland.

December 5 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:

Oh Holy Night from Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas Volume III

Oh Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol. But that’s not why I chose it as the song of the day. My roommates and I were in the car this weekend, listening to Christmas songs. As soon as this song came on, we all started singing together. As we sang the second verse, I was reminded of what Mission Year is all about and why I chose this lifestyle:

Truly He taught us to love one another

His law is love and His gospel is peace

Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother

And in His name all oppression shall cease

And Sufjan has done a beautiful rendition of this classic. You can listen to it here. He starts off with a simple with a banjo and voices, and slowly adds instruments as the song progresses. I love the chorus of voices, not perfectly in sync with one another, but instead letting their individuality show through. It serves as another reminder that we are all called to put our differences aside and come together in celebration of Christ.

December 6 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:

Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! from Joy: Songs for Christmas Volume IV

The name of this song is often proclaimed in our house as a constant reminder; it’s Christmas time! Don’t forget! Be joyful! Be excited! And let me tell you, my roommates and I are excited! We have been listening to Christmas music nonstop, have gone to Christmas tree lightings, have been drinking cocoa, and are even making our own Christmas stockings! Sufjan’s excited too! He reminisces of what Christmas time means to a child; it means looking at Christmas lights and staying up late (for me, this means writing an excessive amount of posts about Christmas music). You can listen to the song here. Sufjan reminds us that Christmas is a time for tradition, a time for romance, and a time for dreaming.

December 7 Sufjan Stevens Christmas Song of the Day:

Once in Royal David’s City from Peace: Songs for Christmas Volume V

The first week I was in Atlanta, I saw a sign on a church downtown, which read “Taizé Services, 7:00pm, First Tuesday of Every Month.” I looked up the church online and made plans to attend the service. To my dismay, something else has come up every month. September brought a trip to Chicago, October we volunteered at a conference, and November required a trip home to San Diego. But tonight I am finally attending the Taizé worship service and am unbelievably excited about it! If you don’t know about Taizé, you can learn about it here or here (thanks so much to Allie and Carl-Eric for opening my eyes and heart to this beautiful style of worship!!). Much of the service is in languages other than English. So today, I have chosen this beautiful song for you that can be enjoyed regardless of what language you speak. You can listen to it here. I hope you enjoy it!

With Love, from Atlanta

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