Guido is my little stuffed monkey who chitters when you squeeze him. He's named after Guido of Arezzo, who named the notes we know as Do (Ut), Re, Mi. He held a candle while discreetly sitting behind the little manger scene on the organ console. When the choir director, who was lighting the first Advent candle, asked me where she could get a candle from to light the wreath, I told her to take the monkey's. She seemed a little confused until she saw him there, and then she got a big smile on her face. As for why I put Guido on the organ when I play in church, well, it's my theory that "every organ grinder needs a monkey."
I did the Gloucestershire Wassail for a prelude and The Holly and the Ivy for the offertory. The choir sang Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming a cappella. I even taught the children The Seven Joys of Mary for their lesson. The Hymn of Response was Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine.
As you can tell, the service had a lot to do with the Virgin Mary today. My Catholic friends think we Protestants de-value Mary, and they have a point. We think they over-value her, which point they do not acknowledge. But I think in the end, it comes down to where you see Mary in the congregation. Imagine the church as a gathering in the throne room of heaven. Who is sitting up front facing the congregation? Jesus, of course. And who is seated in the nave, facing him? The saints (i.e., us). And where are people like Mary, and the Apostles? Catholics and Orthodox see Mary and Peter and so on as seated with Jesus facing us, as sharing his ministry to lead us to God. This is a good picture, but it's not the only possibility. We low church cousins see Mary and Peter and Abraham and all of them as our leaders facing him who is seated on the throne, which throne is his alone. Their place is with us -- or our place is with them, you might say. They are seated much closer to the front than we are, but still, they are not the one we look to, who is our only mediator with God and directly accessible to us at all times.
Anyway, I preached one of my favorite sermons and made much of Mary as the first one called upon by God to start the giving that all of us are called to join in, the giving that redeems the world.