Sunday. I asked David Grey to unwrap the nest. The 73-year-
old attendee has struggled with his past and marginalization,
and his look of surprise and delight stays with me to this day.
He recounts it saying, “It was a wonderful thing to get a gift
like that.” David was baptized and accepted into membership this spring, a sure sign of healing and reconciliation.
Each unwrapped gift made its way onto the boughs of our
decorated Christmas tree to remind us of the Advent progressions and how the symbols were linked. The resources
deepened our understanding of Advent. The impact was not
large, but it did mean our congregation used audio-visual
equipment, which was new in worship. We do not have a
Sunday school, so it also provided hands-on activities for
What caused us some difficulty was that worship moves
between three different churches on different Sundays. One
church gets services every two weeks, so we had to open
two gifts each Sunday and watch two videos. This did not
work very well for that congregation. We also had to figure
out how to download the videos onto a laptop to show them
without Internet in our rural locations.
The videos worked nicely as a visual focus for the message. I
appreciated the theological reflections offered online and used a
number of quotes and ideas to help build up my sermons.
Advent Unwrapped prepared us for the ultimate Christmas
gift—Jesus, generously given to us by our Creator.
The Rev. Krista Anderson is serving part-time in rural
Nova Scotia as a bi-vocational minister.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things.” I hummed
this tune from The Sound of Music as I
prepared for Advent last year.
I was folding brown paper over four
gifts. This was my first Christmas with
Ste. Croix Pastoral Charge in rural
Nova Scotia. The churches had given
me the gift of call extended to a newbie
minister, and I wanted to gift them
something tangible and special back.
I was pleased to find the Advent
Unwrapped videos online. I used the
resources in worship each Sunday after
the opening prayer as an intergenerational devotional focus.
I appreciated the metaphors they provided: hope as a seed,
peace as a nest, joy as an egg, and love as a chick.
The candle-lighting liturgy wording did not work for me as
I wanted to link the lectionary into the four themes, so I used
some more traditional wording.
The suggestion was that in addition to showing the videos,
you put each metaphor in a box that must be unwrapped each
Sunday. I was a little stumped with how to handle the chick. I
was musing about it over supper and my daughter Ellawynn
was horrified and said, “Mom, you can’t wrap a chick! That
would be animal cruelty!” I opted for a Styrofoam feather-covered chick.
On the first Sunday our youngest attendee, Isabel MacKay,
unwrapped the gift. I remember her excited look at being able
to open a gift before Christmas morning and her perplexed
expression when she found the hope apple seed. When asked
about her memory of this, Isabel, now seven, responds, “I
was hoping the box was a toy for me, but when I opened it,
I was happy that it was a seed because seeds can grow into
plants and flowers. It was better than a toy.”
Another fond memory of the rituals was from the third
The Rev. Krista Anderson with her daughter Ellawynn.
STE. CROIX PASTORAL CHARGE
• Includes the congregations of Ardoise,
Ellershouse, and Ste. Croix in rural Nova Scotia
• Approximately 80 families
by Krista Anderson