One of the things I loved the most about our church in New Jersey was how simplified the lessons were in the family services. Children were the intended target for the messages, but adults learned memorable lessons as well.
Take peanut butter Sunday. Some called it Epiphany. In the Anglican faith, the twelve days of Christmas culminate with Epiphany. This is the traditional day to celebrate the arrival of the three kings to witness Jesus’ birth and to bring presents.
In our Episcopal church, the children were asked to bring peanut butter from home for their gift to Christ. Next to the manger with the baby Jesus figure, jar after jar was brought forward to the altar by young children old enough to carry them. The gifts were for donation to the local food bank after the service.
I’ve often wondered if the children remember that ritual on the final day of Christmastide. Personally, it makes me want to commemorate the day now by eating something with peanut butter! Do you see how strong association and memories can be?
Our culture is pretty quick to dismantle decorations and remembrances of Christmas after December 25. We were invited to savor the 12 days and the season. I’m really trying still by walking the neighborhoods to see the light displays and still playing holiday music.
In memory of this tradition in our church, this cartoon depicts what could have happened at the altar with the innocence of a young child in mind.