I have yet to make my trek up to the attic to fetch the 378 or so boxes of lights, ornaments, garland, glitter, sleigh, nativity sets and all other things pertaining to Christmas, but I best get started. Advent begins this Sunday.
Our church traditionally marks the beginning of the Advent season with the Hanging of the Green service. Combining all the morning worship services we gather in our sanctuary to ritually decorate our church, consecrating all things over into the glory and celebration of the Christ Child.
Notice I use the singular “Green” and not “Greens.” For years I had referred to this service where we “green” or decorate the church in worship as the Hanging of the Greens. Some member kindly chided me and said that the correct word is “green” not “greens.” “Greens,” he went on to say “refer to collards, mustards and turnips.”
Personally I like greens and I will soon be picking up a mess for my New Years feast. I am embarrassed to admit that I was too late in planting them for my winter garden, which means I may lose status among my kin. Collards and mustards would make for fine decorations and certainly they would make our beautiful sanctuary unique.
Back to the question: Is it green or greens? Like many answers we solicit in life, it depends on who you ask. Many churches in our area use both terms and according to the books I have on liturgy both are acceptable. So the answer to the question is “Green” and “Greens.”
Here is the good news: it really doesn’t matter. There are bigger questions we bring to the Advent season. Advent asks questions of journey (where are we), ideas of power and weakness (who are we); and of hope amidst darkness (whose are we).
As we journey together through this season and into the coming year I hope we do not get distracted with the questions that do not really matter. There are some questions, of course, too important to ignore.
Advent peace to you and yours,