When it comes to being trauma-informed in ministry settings, one of the joys I find in the process is that “everything old is new again,” in the sense that many of the structures and patterns that are a part of traditional worship styles can be very grounding and helpful for those working through past trauma.
For instance, the reassurance of the liturgical calendar and its various seasons is very comforting to my family, and each of us have trauma or adversity in our past. Knowing that every November or early December will bring with it the traditions of Advent is an anchor in the midst of what can otherwise be a very turbulent holiday season. By calling out the rich meaning and significance to the traditions the Church holds, memories can be made, peace can be felt, and a connection to a story larger than our own narratives can be experienced.
Originally written as a companion to an Advent series for the children of Intermountain, this devotional book takes you through 25 symbols of Christmas using the traditional Chrismons found in many churches during Advent. Chrismon means "Christ Monogram," and the symbols tell stories that can enrich your experience of the holiday season. In the back of the book there are patterns you can use, or you can even cut the symbols directly out of the book to make your own special decorations for your tree. This is a wonderful devotional and activity for individuals, couples, or families. The devotions could be done, one a day, starting on December 1st, or as Advent regularly starts earlier, you could begin with the first Sunday in Advent and give yourself a few "grace" days built in, still ending with the final Chrismon on Christmas morning--the Christ Child in the Manger.
The book is available on Amazon.com for $9.24, or those interested in ordering multiple copies for their churches can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org in order get 10+ copies ($7/ea) or 20+ copies ($6/ea) to distribute.