At Waterloo North Mennonite Church, the 2014 Advent season began on Nov. 24 with a special labyrinth of blessing for the congregation’s children and youth.
A labyrinth of freshly cut pine, spruce and cedar boughs spiralled through the fellowship hall. Decorated with foil stars, apples and cranberry-like garlands, the labyrinth brought a festive appearance and a seasonal scent to the darkened room. Christmas carols played in the background.
A procession of children and youth carried unlit candles in mason jars, following the path to the centre, where one by one they received a personal message of God’s love from a pastor stationed there and their candles were lit. Then they exited the labyrinth, leaving their glowing candles at appointed places along the path.
Noted lead pastor Gordon Allaby in an e-mail, by the end of the evening, the dark room was filled with dozens of tiny lights shining in the darkness. The setting and evening was all about Advent, he explained: “The light coming into the world, preparing ourselves to receive again and again this light, and then going out with the light.”
Allaby’s grandson happened to be visiting Waterloo, Ont., during the American Thanksgiving break, and was able to participate in the service.
“This experience made a huge impression on him because he rarely attends church,” Allaby wrote. “I found it deeply meaningful to bless him, light his candle and to see his delight in experiencing church is such a positive and affirming manner.”