One of the daily readings for the global Advent calendar sponsored by The Society of Saint John the Evangelist introduced me to Anne Lamott’s book, Help Thanks Wow. It’s a powerful book based on the premise that “Help!”, “Thanks”, and “Wow!” are the three essential prayers that cover all we ever really need to say to God.
(Our church at the first week of Advent, with Angel Tree gifts at the altar)
As the children wait, they kneel at the altar rail–sometimes testing its strength as a jungle gym–and then put out their hands as it comes close to their turn. Every once in a while, a toddler or preschooler breaks the silence to express the excitement that no longer can be contained:
“Please …” to the priest approaching with the bread.
“Thank you” as the child accepts a piece of bread.
“Yay!” instead of “Amen” at the end of the post-Communion prayer.
Eternal God, heavenly Father,
you have graciously accepted us as living members
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ,
and you have fed us with spiritual food
in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.
Send us now into the world in peace,
and grant us strength and courage
to love and serve you
with gladness and singleness of heart;
through Christ our Lord.
The priest usually smiles as the rest of us try to stifle our laughter, but we all know that the child is right. The ceremony and symbolism of Holy Communion is special and exciting, and it deserves to be approached with awe and wonder–and even cheering.
This Christmas, I hope you experience the joy and wonder of God’s unconditional love so deeply that you can’t help but shout out, “Thank you! Yay! ”