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A Memorable White Gift Sunday

Were you there? Oh, if you weren’t at church on Sunday, December 7th, you missed a highlight of the Christmas season.
As Rev. David stood at the microphone at the front of the church to make the announcements, people were startled (as was David) to hear Alvin the Chipmunk speaking the words David was trying to say. Pat Wilkie, the sound magician, had tweaked the controls to alter David’s voice, much to the amusement of the congregation.
While the candles were being lit we listened to the beautiful blending of the voices of Angela Shearman and Matthew Galloway singing “Who Is This Tiny Child?”
The Church School was in charge of the service. Under the leadership of Ann Otterbein they had prepared a drama about Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. The narrative, read by five girls, set up the story which was illustrated by a children’s choir. This little band of angels, large and small, sang about Mele Kalikimaka (the Merry Christmas greeting in Hawaii) and Feliz Navidad from South America. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer became Roo Roo the Kangaroo from Australia.
Sitting right up front gave me a really close look at these precious children. Some were very serious, giving their wide-eyed attention to the signals from Ann and Tamara, her helper; some bopped along with their hips swinging; others swiveled to see what their neighbour was doing. There was a gum-chewing angel whose eyes, even so, remained fixed on the leader; another one or two who must have thought there was too much noise during the bell-ringing and so put the bells to their ears to close off the sound a little.
Following the drama presentation we discovered some budding musical talent as Sarah McCarrel on violin, Ashley Otterbein and Laura Charlton at piano, and Jacqueline Otterbein on saxophone played Christmas carols.
Then the pièce de résistance. A magical set of circumstances occurred when it came time to sing to the baby Jesus. From the back of the church there arrived a brand new four-day-old baby who was gently placed in the manger as the children sang “Away in a Manger” to Baby Bradley Charlton. I have always wondered what it would be like to see a real live baby in the manger scene. I couldn’t believe my good fortune to be there for this Holy re-enactment. Here was the future interpreting the past. The children presented a message which was more than real and I had a hard time keeping the tears back.
Since this was White Gift Sunday, a long-time tradition of our church, the children wheeled in wagons and grocery carts jam-packed with “white gifts” of groceries for the Salvation Army Food Bank. This year they will be even more important because of the demands on the bank caused by the economic stresses of this time.
We take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Mele Kalikimaka, Feliz Navidad.
By Rosemary Fenwick

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