Decorating for Christmas
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent and Christmas preparation involves decoration outside the church but also within both the church Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall. Henrie Burnett has just completed a small Creche scene in the Fellowship Hall meeting space.

     Each liturgical church year begins with the Season of Advent which readies the faithful for the coming of the Lord Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem. At Zion Lutheran Church of Silverhill this means readying the exterior and the interiors of the church Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. Christmas decorations which focus on the coming of Jesus are arranged. Special Christmas lighting and displays are set up. The Season of Advent is four weeks long.

     At Zion Church the usual Midweek Bible Study is replaced by Soup and Sandwich Suppers at 6 PM on Wednesday nights. Suppers are followed by a brief Vespers Service with a meditation on the Advent/Christmas Bible texts. Friends and neighbors are invited to Suppers and Vespers Services each Wednesday through December 22. Regular Advent Sunday worship continues at 10 AM during the first four weeks of December with the Christmas Season formally beginning on Christmas Eve with Candle Light Worship at 6 PM. December 5 will formally welcome the Advent Season with a "Hanging of the Greens" service.

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Christmas lighting above the church entry way requires a ladder and a bit of skill. Charlie Canning (l) aims a ladder for a central fastener overhead as Steve Vasko manages the other end of the device.

Meanwhile inside, Pete Midgarden readies lights and decorations for the installation process. A number of strings of lights, garlands, and wreaths have been assembled for the festive task.

Becky Vasko has selected a wreath for the front door of the church and has afixed it to the door at eye level.

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Ralph Utter, who has managed to manicure the church lawn for years, empties a pail of dirt into an old lawn scar from one of those 1915 Water Oaks that used to line the streets of Silverhill. Ralph notes that he has been filling in the Oak hole as the old root slowly decomposes. The church yard will look good for Christmas.

Henrie Burnett sets the tone for decoration with a choice of sacred music on a boom box in the balcony of the Sanctuary. The hymns fill the room with sacred melody.

Becky Vasko and Pete Midgarden (l to r) begin adding chrismons to the Sanctuary tree for Advent. Ralph Utter takes a break "from supervision" to look at the multiple tasks going on in the church.

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Becky Vasko and Martha Canning (l to r) have determined initial positioning of chrismons for the Sanctuary Advent tree.

As the tree is slowly decorated, lights and chrismons cover the surface of that Advent tree. Becky and Steve Vasko (l to 4) work on the south side of the tree as Martha Canning works on the north side.

As tree decoration continues, Becky Vasko arranges the Creche scene with figures having been in Christmas use by the church for over a quarter of a century.

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Liturgical churches incorporate the Advent Wreath and Candles into worship. Zion's wreath is situated on the right side of the Chancel of the Nave. The four candles of Advent are seated on the wreath with the Christ Candle of Christmas situated in its center. The Advent banner on the wall has a similar motif.

Yogi (Robert) Nitteberg has been involved in a special decoration project relating to the work of his late wife Eleanor. Eleanor loved to do an outdoor Creche scene. So, Yogi continues the tradition, with the lighted Creche set up next to the entry way to Zion's Fellowship Hall each Advent.

The Creche scene takes form with help of Charlie Canning (l) with Yogi supervising.

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Charlie Canning, Steve Vasko, and Yogi Nitteberg work together on the assembly of the Creche.

Once the basic set-up is completed, the characters of the Creche are added one by one. Charlie Canning has just mounted the angel and fastened it to the Creche. set-up.

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Steve Vasko (r) hands Charlie Canning each addition to the Creche as Charlie arranges the character. That is a manger that Steve is holding in hand.

It is time for "the last straw." Yogi carries pine straw to the manger scene to fill in the empty space within the Creche. Things are almost complete for Advent and Christmas! e set-up.