Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Advent Update

We are still enjoying our time spent in the mornings reading the Christmas story for our Jessie Tree.  On Sunday we started the readings in Luke.  If you are following along the Luke reading starts here.

Last week Trinity and I got to spend some time together, just the two of us,  as we made a popcorn and cranberry string for our front tree.  It was fun to just sit the two of us and talk as we worked.  TJ did most of the talking but it was fun to sit and listen to her.  I realize that we are often together as a family but I don't have extended periods with just one child at a time.  It was fun just to sit at the kitchen counter and watch her concentrate on stringing the popcorn and cranberries and to listen to her perspective on things.

On Friday, we were involved in a Christmas concert to raise money for an organization called Kerr Street Ministries.  Jason plays with a band called Before the Flood and this is their third annual Christmas charity fundraiser that they organize at a local club called the "Moonshine Cafe".  It is a unique event because there is a family portion first where kids come and sit right in the front and get to play instruments for the first set.  BTF provides pizza and gingerbread cookies and the kids become involved in the concert.  Our kids all came to the event.  The older ones like the music and a chance to sit with their grandparents in a grown up place.  TJ likes meeting all the other kids that come. It is fun night and about eight o'clock all the kids head home and another band called Kensington Prairie does a  set followed by a final set from BTF.  
The Moonshine - A Neighbourhood Gathering Place

The owners of the Moonshine are very involved in their community so the club itself is a place where people that live in the neighbourhood gather. The evidence of community that happens there is all around the place in pictures that nearly cover every part of of the exposed walls.  Musicians and patrons adorn the walls giving affirmation of how many actually have been through the doors.   I am sure a lot of the patrons don't know Jesus, or go to church on Sundays, although one of our Sanctuary church plants used to meet there before they got too big and had to move down the street.  It is place like churches should be, a welcoming place for all who come through the door.  A place where people will talk to you when sit down and will actually be interested in listening to what it is you have to say.  It is a place where I think Jesus would have hung out. 

Now before I go any further, Before the Flood is not a christian band.  There are some Christians in the band but they play secular music.  Jason really likes playing with them.  They play mostly in downtown Toronto and although Jason has never said it, I think he likes being part of the band because not only does he like the guys but they get invited to places that a Christian band never would.   He has some great stories about when people find out he is a pastor.  It shakes things up.   I think that is what Jesus did.  He showed up in places where people gathered and engaged with them.  Places where people didn't expect Him and because of this He shook things up. 
Jason and Steve

So back to Friday night.  My favourite part about the night was we got to sing some fantastic songs about the truth of Christmas.  BTF debuted Jason's new song "This is Christmas".   If you want to listen to it check it our on Jason's My Space page here.  I got to sing "Go Tell It On The Mountain".  I have to admit that is was quite a bit louder and rockier than I have ever sang it in church but the crowd was definitely listening.

Rebecca from Kensington Prairie
I think my favourite part of the night though, was when Rebecca, from Kensington Prairie sang her rendition of two of my favourite Christmas songs.  "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night".  Rebecca has a beautiful voice and as the notes and words of truth carried though out the bar I was reminded that this is what it must have been like that first Christmas night.  Truth and love came down to the most unusual place, a place where no one expected it to come.   The pure beauty of that moment was juxtaposed with the most humble and surprising surroundings. 

Maybe I liked this night so much because it was a reminder to be in the world, to be an ambassador of truth and love where ever I go but especially in the most surprising places.

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