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Hey Everyone--

This week--well, it's our usual Christmas moment.  Our Christmas White Elephant.  We ask the kids to bring gifts to exchange.  Crazy gifts.  Or something from around the house.  5 bucks maximum if money must be spent.  Then comes our crazy exchange, which each year highlights something about the generosity and the grabbiness of the season.

So, help your kid find and wrap something to bring.  But ask them to do the work--find it, wrap it--you know.  And, because this month Grace is collecting canned goods for Helpline, let's have everyone bring a can of something.  Let's build a big pile.

In addition to the White Elephant, this gathering before Christmas is a chance for us to talk about Christmas itself--the depth of it, the challenge of it.  It's a conversation that's always worth having.  You might try talking about it, too--helping the kids bridge the strange distance between an ancient story of a baby and shepherds to the crazy commercialism we live with today.

Lastly, a bit of help . . . as you know, our groups have been big this Fall.  Kathie and I love the energy, and marvel at it.  In our Rite 13 Group we are also trying to find some new ways to contain and corral the physical energy of the younger boys.  We are re-working the room seating, and we'll be asking for more cooperation from them.  We are also inviting some of the 8th graders to lead by example.  You may hear about this from your kids--and if you do, let us know. As always, our goal is to help these guys find a community together--something far different than school.  The way we treat each other on Thursday nights is crucial to that--and the way we treat the group itself.  We're working at it!

That's it.  See ya soon.