Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 22, 2003
Joy bags share season's bliss
School children experience Advent in a novel way
By BILL GLEN
"It's a chance to reflect back on our family's growth and journeying."
- Ron Deering
"It's sort of a passage of age," Judy Deering said. "In the beginning you don't know how to read yet, so your parents or your older siblings help you. You're always happy to bring the joy bag home. Nobody's grumpy. You always know you're going to have goodies after supper after you commit to the spiritual part of it.
"The Advent wreath is the legend we celebrate," she said.
"I like reading the comments over the years," Ron Deering said. "It shows the growth of our community and families that we knew. We've been in Patricia Heights for 30 years. The stories in the journal are all related to what the family did to celebrate Christmas."
The families describe lighting the candles. Sometimes the parents describe their children and over the years, you can see where the kids are growing up and leaving the community.
"It's also a joy to read what we wrote over the years," Ron said. "It's a chance to reflect back on our family's growth and journeying."
The journals also describe the return of some families to the community and the school, as is about to occur with the Deerings.
"The joy bag would always come home on the weekend when we celebrated two birthdays (Thomas, 23 and Tiffany, 16)," Ron said. "And now Kirra is our third December baby.
"There is always a lot of candle lighting," he quipped.
Eldest daughter Treena, 32, a high school teacher in Red Deer, sees a great intrinsic value in the tradition of the joy bags.
"Writing is becoming a lost art," she said. "So having the kids writing in the journal is even more special now because it doesn't happen very much. Everything is computerized.
"This is really an archive where families sit down together and page through a book."
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