Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Week in Review: May 27 – June 2 (“Banquet 2013: Christmas in Winter Wonderland”)

“Adolescence isn't just about prom or wearing sparkly dresses.” ~Jena Malone

“Every cliché about kids is true; they grow up so quickly, you blink and they're gone, and you have to spend the time with them now. But that's a joy.” ~Liam Neeson

If you then, for all your evil, quite naturally give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him?” ~Matthew 7:11 (Phillips)

A few weeks ago, when the girls were all “made up” and donning formal gowns for the grade 8 play, I casually mentioned to a friend that I was looking them over (especially my own progeny) and thinking about what they were going to look like in ten or so years.

“Ten years!?” she replied with great exaggeration?  “Try three years when they’re going to Banquet!”

The crowd gathers to watch Banquet arrivals.
Oh yeah …

I have blogged about Banquet before.  Actually, what I wrote then still describes the event pretty well, so I won’t repeat it all here.  But, I do need to say again how amazing it is that (after months of planning) dozens of adults can take a week, rolls and rolls of butcher paper, paint, and (this year) Christmas trees and transform the Teen Centre from drab warehouse into a Winter Wonderland.

Especially in this climate where the concept of "winter wonderland" is just that ... conceptual.

Banquet is our school’s substitute for Prom, and, in so many ways, a love letter from parents to their Junior and Senior children.

I was asked several weeks ago if I would be a part of the photography team for this year’s Banquet.  I recently got an SLR camera, and I guess that must be what makes me qualified … but of course I said yes.  :)  It secured for me an inside pass to experience what sits in my not-too-distant future.

Less than two weeks ago, the Teen Centre looked like this (picture from Evan’s birthday party):

During the week, it was being transformed like this:

By Friday night, it was a beautiful feast of white and blue lights, endless metres of tulle netting, and Christmas trees, lovingly knit together with creativity and sheer elegance.

Some of the banquet attendees as they arrived with great anticipation for their special evening.
Even the bathrooms were decorated.  This Yeti stood in the corner of the boys' bathroom just daring the boys to throw styrofoam snowballs into his mouth.  (They then came out of the hole in his belly!)
One of the activity booths was a recording studio where the teens could select a song, sing it, and it would be recorded, mixed, and returned to them on CD.
Another booth allowed the kids to make keepsake Christmas tree ornaments with photos of their class and other assorted items.
At the request of the teens, there was time for dancing, including this sash dance and various line dances.

Each set of parents left a gift for their child under a large Christmas tree.
The students enjoyed an elegant dinner prepared by parents and professionally served by dads.
The parents and some teachers put on a play to entertain the kids.  Of course, any similarity to any real people or events was purely coincidental.  In this scene, the "Ghost of Christmas That Came in March Because Your Cards and Packages Were Held up in Port Moresby for Three Months" came to visit Mrs. Gingergoose.
She was also visited by the "Twinkly Twinkie Winkie Stars of Christmas ... symbols of peace, harmony, and general niceness between everyone everywhere" ... unless they happen to be fighting, of course.
The kids laughed hilariously at their parents' antics, and at the allusions to themselves and their friends.
Some additional scenes from the play.

I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this Banquet from the inside, and even though none of the kids were my own (at least biologically), the closing sentiments (including a closing song lovingly sung to the tune of "The Christmas Song" by the choir of all adult participants) brought me to tears.
Surely, this is a good gift from parents to children.   

I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father gives his own gifts to us even more graciously, freely, and abundantly.

What an amazing banquet we have to look forward to!  

I hope to see you there.

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(Updated 13 April 2013)