This session introduces the concept of intangibles, qualities that cannot be seen but exist and have value nonetheless. "Welcome" is itself an intangible gift, and it is through a variety of intangible gifts that welcome is communicated. The Wonderful Welcome program opens with the intangible gift of love.
Love is something like the clouds that were in the sky before the sun came out. You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything.
— Annie Sullivan
This session begins with the Wonder Box, a beautiful, gift-wrapped box. Each time the group meets, the children will have a chance to wonder, and then find out, what is inside. In subsequent sessions, the Wonder Box will contain items that represent a central story or an intangible gift, but in this session, the children will find it empty.
However, is it really empty? It does contain the gift of love. As you guide the children to discuss love as a gift, you also introduce the concept of intangible gifts. Your guidance prepares the children to discover more intangible gifts as they explore "welcome" as the umbrella for the other gifts presented in this program.
In the story, The Real Gift, a child learns to distinguish between a homemade gift and the love with which it was made. The story demonstrates that although you cannot see or touch love, you can give and receive it by expressing kindness, offering acceptance, and sharing time with others.
Ask the children to think about the intangible gifts they bring to the world, and the intangible gifts they receive. When and how do they receive love from others? When and how do they show empathy? Have others given them the gift of friendship? How do they show that they want to be someone's friend? In this session, children begin a broad investigation of how they use intangible gifts to welcome others into their lives.
If you plan to do the Faith in Action activity, Coffee Can Music, plan ahead to collect coffee cans with snap-on plastic lids. You may wish to engage parents or the entire congregation to help save cans.
- Introduce the concept of gifts that cannot be seen, that is, “intangible gifts”
- Guide participants identify the intangible gifts they bring to and receive from others
- Explore the gift of love and how it can be demonstrated
- Demonstrate that Unitarian Universalism values welcoming others
- Engage participants in the spiritual practices of opening and closing rituals
- Experience giving a gift they cannot see
- Learn that love is an intangible gift that is given and received
- Learn and sing the Christmas song, "Little Drummer Boy," and understand that it is about an intangible gift
- Experience something that is real but not quite there by playing with shadows
- Optional: Experience sharing the intangible gift of love by making a musical instrument with, and giving it to, an older person in the congregation.