This week’s session focused on the Antiphon for 21st December:

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of the deasth.

The verse from ‘O Come, O come Emmanuel’ that goes with this is:

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits from thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Our theme for this evening was therefore ‘light and darkness’. After hearing the verse and the antiphon, we played ‘Pass the parcel’. This had a twist to it. It was played in silence. Each person could have one turn and open when the parcel when they wanted. Inside each layer was a verse about light and darkness to be read out and a candle to be lit and put on the votive stand. As the ‘game’ progressed the light from the stand grew brighter.

There was then a meditation, which gave some thoughts coming as if from people caught in dark places. This was followed by images of the sunrise (although the technology let us down!) and listening and dancing (children only volunteered) to ‘Gaudete’. Finally the children took some time to make light and dark pictures and the adults had silence to reflect either by reading materials from the booklet, thinking about the activities, writing and/ or praying.

Here are some of the pictures produced:

These are some of the reflections:

We heard from one adult about her experience of being with her aunt in the air raid shelters during the blitz. She said that the night seemed endless and they longed for the morning for then the bombing would have stopped.

“I remember times of waking up after a nightmare, knowing I am awake but that there are hours to wait before the dawn. The emotions of the dream- fear, grief, panic- do not lesson as I lay in the dark. Only when I realise the sun has come up do the feeling recede and I know that my dream was not real.”

“Waiting, waiting, waiting: glimpsing with vision cleared, but for a moment, the light of a new better day.
Lost in my own darkness again: heart searching, waiting for another ray of light. The light of grace holds freedom from my own self-imposed blindness.
The light that cleanses and heals my troubled heart and spirit.
The light of resurrection, union and the final death of self.
Come Lord Jesus. The day of Gaudete is near.”