All Things Made New

Weekly Reflection, Friday, August 5

By: Amelia McDaniel

Back to school planning is in full swing. You can’t miss it wherever you go. It was such a joy recently to watch the Bright Beginnings backpacks, donated by parishioners for the Goochland Family YMCA, fill the office waiting to be delivered – full of fresh new supplies. This year it feels like it is possible to fully give way to all the imaginings that a new school year can bring.

When I lived in Baton Rouge, I worked in an Episcopal Day School of about 300 PreK – 5th grade students. Throughout the school year on each Friday, the whole school gathered for Eucharist. But the very first Eucharist of the school year had a special tradition – New Crayon Day. The rector would hold up a brand new, super-sized box of crayons. I mean, imagine the teacher supply closet kind with 800 crayons in it. You could smell them even from way far back in the congregation.

The rector would hold up the box and examine the new crayons ready to do their work for the year. He explained to the children that they were just like those new crayons. No matter what had happened last year or over the summer that had been less than expected or defeating, they were starting this new school year as strong and new as the crayons in the giant box he stood beside. He told them that, with God, all things can be made new. As the children came up for communion, they got to choose a new crayon for their own to take and tuck somewhere special to remind them throughout the year just how God sees them – strong and capable and new. It was so dear to watch them reach into that box and choose just the one right crayon for themselves.

Whether you have a kid going back to school or not, I hope you let yourself have a fresh start in this season of returning to a more normal and scheduled life. The last few years have been hard and unexpected in so many ways. In the midst of it all, God’s faithfulness to us has continued to make things new. I hope our children see themselves this way as they start back to school. And I hope you do too. Maybe even go buy yourself a box of crayons.