Advent Story: Four Prayers of Gratitude

 We don’t hear much about the journey Mary, Joseph and their Donkey take during the re-telling of Nativity stories. Mostly we hear about why they had to leave, and the wondrous story of the birth of Jesus. At Numala Kinder, we believe the journey is worth celebrating too – because it is on the journey that our challenges and adventures help us to learn about ourselves and the world. It is the journey that calls us back to gratitude and kindness when things get a little rough, and that reminds us that even a little kindness to others can soften their journeys too.

In this version of the Nativity story, Mary and Joseph pass through the Four Realms: the Mineral Realm, the Plant Realm, the Animal Realm and the Human Realm. This journey is one we take at kinder too – with all the wonderful opportunities to play and learn and challenge ourselves through playing in the natural environment, observing nature’s gifts with landscapes, plants, animals, with friends and family. This year we have all passed through the Four Realms, and, as I am also a Celebrant, I love to acknowledge each child in ceremony. Our Numala Kinder Journey is celebrated and each child acknowledged at our simple end of year Advent festival. Here’s a song of gratitude that forms part of our festival – please invite your imagination and memories along as you read it and find your own reasons to be grateful for the Four Realms of Life on Earth.

Numala Kinder Advent Mandala NK

ADVENT SONG OF GRATITUDE, by Jennifer McCormack, 2015

Joseph, Mary and their donkey this night lay down to rest,

exhausted from their journey, but knowing they were blessed.

To Father Sky and Mother Earth, the travellers said a prayer:

“We are grateful for the gifts of earth, of water, fire and air.

For the mountains, and the valleys, the hills and the plains;

for rivers, lakes and oceans who give their water up for rain.

Thank you to the rocks and stones, for the ground beneath our feet,

for deep inside this wondrous earth, a warm heart will always beat.”

That evening as they made their meal underneath the stars,

Mary and Joseph whispered, “How fortunate we are,

To have the blessings of abundance from the plants around

Nourishment, shelter, healing and beauty growing in the ground.

Thank you to the trees and bushes, for the shelter you provide.

For the beauty of the many flowers, growing alongside

Thanks for vegetables, fruits and roots, for everything we need.

And best of all, the gift of life deep within your seeds.”

They collected healing herbs, gathered roots and offered up their thanks.

And still they journeyed with their Donkey, along tracks and riverbanks.

Donkey carried Mary and the Infant, who was as yet unborn,

He walked all day, steady and strong, and rose early every morn.

“We thank the birds and animals for their company,

For their work and their devotion, and for their loyalty.

For gifts of milk, wool and silk, the bees for their honey,

For caring for the world around, and caring for me.”

And finally they arrived, their journey at an end,

Mary’s babe was born that night in the town of Bethlehem.

They were all spellbound by the beauty of their tiny Holy Child

Mary slept a healing sleep and when she woke she smiled.

“This Babe was born upon the ground, and a great teacher he will be,

I shall teach him all I can, and then he shall teach me.

I am grateful places filled with love, for friends and family,

and thanks to Spirit, for this special little Babe who has come to me

I give thanks to the kindness of others, when they see a need

who know inside another lies potential, like a seed.

We all have the ability to open up our hearts,

To try to be and do the best we can, its the greatest way to start.

For every parent anywhere knows the awesome power of birth

 And that love and trust and honest work will transform this Earth.”