October 26, 2020

Looking towards Christmas this year is odd, to say the least. So many of the church traditions will be very different this year, and I suspect I am not the only one experiencing some anticipatory grief. We will not be singing in our worship services. We will need to drastically alter some of the mainstays of our life together, from decorating the church to hanging the greens. The Singing Christmas Tree, a highlight of the season that brings participants from all over the valley into our sanctuary to perform to full-house crowds has been cancelled since singing is unsafe. But that isn’t to say that Christmas isn’t going to happen. And perhaps we will be able to recover older, simpler practices or create new ones to take us in new directions.

About a week ago, I noticed all the pumpkin head people appearing in Woodstock just in time for Halloween. A year ago, I had a passing conversation with our secretary, Becky Lytton about how neat it would be for St. Paul’s UCC to participate sometime, perhaps creating a small display of a pumpkin head people Singing Christmas Tree. 

The idea popped mind again, and I enlisted four other brave and talented women, to help. This Sunday, armed with a few ideas, enthusiasm, three big pumpkins, tomato cages, metal stakes, rebar, Gorilla Glue duct tape, paint, newspapers, plastic grocery store bags, string, paint, brushes, markers, a sledge-hammer, among other things, and set to work. It took us five hours (longer by two hours that how long it takes to erect and decorate the entire Singing Christmas Tree platform) to finish the task.

We made-it-up as we went along, since this was a new endeavor, and although we made a few missteps, had a few scrapped fingers, and went through entire roll of duct tape, we finished the display, plugged in the lights, and stood back to admire the finished project.

A person standing in front of a brick building

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In place of anticipatory grief about not having the Singing Christmas Tree, we had anticipatory pleasure about how much joy people from our congregation and community will get from seeing it. 

There is a lesson there. We can find ways to honor our traditions, perhaps create new ones, work creatively together to think outside the box, and to discover what is essential about the season. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “for the sake of the joy that was set before him (Jesus), endured.” 

Enjoy our pumpkin heads! ~ Anne

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