The other day, I was reflecting on how I see things differently. There have also been times, when leading worship, I have been told I do things differently, but quite how hasn't been clear.
This Advent and Christmas season I know what I did was different.
I invited members of the congregation to light the Advent ring. Not just children (though on the first Sunday it was a child, due to only one candle being lit), but adults too. Though there aren't many children at Quarry Kirk, this was not my rational for getting the breadth of the congregation to participate in lighting the Advent candles. The Advent season is a time of perperation for the whole church. The whole church is made up of not only the children. Surely, then, the whole church should be represented when we light the candles?
It seemed to work and I didn't struggle to get willing volunteers. Which makes me wonder why it's not the 'norm', but that's probably because the lighting of the candles forms part of the children's address slot, so perish the thought adults would get to do it!!!
The other thing I did differently was continue to have the Advent wreath (all 5 candles this time) lit both last Sunday and yesterday. The Christmas season doesn't end till Epiphany, when the wise men arrived, so surely the symbolism of the lights of the candle should continue to burn for the whole season (or about an hour a week during the service). I can't recall seeing the Advent wreath still lit beyond the Sunday after Christmas. Often, by the first Sunday in January the decorations have been packed away for the coming year. I made a special request to have the wreath for yesterday's service and ensured it was lit. I also explained to the congregation why I was continuing to do it - because the season of Christmas was ongoing.
The candles and wreath will be away next Sunday. They may loose their significance and symbolism if they are ever present. But I think I will, when the time comes again, try to include the whole church in the lighting of the Advent wreath.