Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The Sunday School Christmas program December 18, 2011

KIds wait in the narthex of Trinity Lutheran Church, Faribault, for the processional into the sanctuary during the Sunday School Christmas program. I shot with natural light, meaning a slow shutter speed, perfect for capturing the "can't stand still" action of these little ones who were so excited.

CHRISTMAS IS NOT Christmas to me without the Sunday School Christmas program.

From little on—when  I recited my “piece” at the St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Sunday School Christmas Eve program, hoping I wouldn’t get a long bible verse with a word like “Nazareth” to trip my tongue—to today, when I can simply sit and observe, I’ve always treasured this part of celebrating Christ’s birth.

Through the years, my own three children participated at Trinity Lutheran in Faribault, playing the roles of Mary and an angel and Joseph and maybe even a shepherd. I have forgotten.

I do remember, though, the year I was 7 ½ months pregnant with my son and waddled into church feeling like the Blessed Mother herself. That was 18 years ago.

Saturday night I grabbed my camera and attempted to capture those moments that have always endeared me to this special children’s worship service—the red Christmas dresses, the bathrobe shepherd’s garb, the fluttering of angel’s wings, the joyful singing of familiar Christmas hymns, the kids who can’t stand still no matter how hard they try or don’t try, the goodie bags…

At Trinity in Faribault, a new generation of children sang and I remembered those Christmases so many years ago back on the prairie, waiting in the basement of  St. John’s, inching up the stairway, walking in pairs down the church aisle singing “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful…”

Such memories. Such joy at Christmas time.

The beginning of the children's Christmas program at Trinity on Saturday evening.

Children, ages 3 through kindergarten, sing. Lots of action here.

The angels wait just outside the sanctuary for their cue to enter.

The angels approach the manger at the front of the church.

"O Antiphons," lined up below the pipes of the organ, were used during Advent services to symbolize the names or titles given to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, in many Old Testament prophecies.

After the service, I found this cue card for the children and this hymnal, open to "Joy to the World," on a front pew.

DO YOU HAVE special memories of a Sunday School Christmas program?

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling