Every December 24th,
we attend a Christmas Eve service at our church.
I love it.
I love the Christmas carols,
and the lights,
and getting dressed up,
and seeing everyone in their black and red Christmas attire.
I love the "cold" weather and the atmosphere of love and kindness.
The "fruit of the spirit" are almost tangible.
In previous years, we used a babysitter,
or my parents watched the boys for the evening service.
But last year we decided to brave it,
and take the whole family.
John and I found seats near the back (for three reasons).
I found a few programs for the boys to color,
dug through my purse and found a few pens,
and held my breath.
It started out okay.
The music was loud (hooray!).
The singing was loud (yay!).
We breathed a little sigh of relief
and sang along to a boisterous "Joy To The World!"
But then came "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"....
a slower moving, more emotionally-focused song.
Not exactly Andrew's cup of tea.
That is where the trouble began.
Andrew did not like "Oh Come All Ye Faithful"
and he quickly made his displeasure known.
He started yelling out requests:
"Jingle Bells!!! Jingle Bells!!!
Jingle Bells!!! Jingle Bells!!!"
during the softly sung,
"Venite Adoremus, Venite Adoremus, Dominum."
We tried denial for a few more verses;
we tried shushing;
we even tried muffling,
but to no avail.
He just kept getting louder,
"I want JINGLE BELLS!!!"
So I took him outside.
There, in my brand new Christmas outfit,
I followed him all over the church grounds
as he climbed and jumped off every cement structure in his view.
I found a parent of another ejected two-year-old.
while we waited for our "lucky" spouses to emerge from the service.
It was one of those times in life
when you don't realize how sweet it is until the moment is gone.
It was just Andrew and me
(which was, at the time, a rare one-on-one opportunity).
But I don't remember appreciating it.
I remember longing to go back into the church and sing, and sit.
I remember resenting that I had been the parent nominated to leave the service,
and griping in my mind about having to follow an active two-year-old
around the church parking lot.
"Don't I do enough of this every day?"
I grumbled to myself.
I wish it were possible to always enjoy every moment.
To treat each day with awe and wonder.
To appreciate the gifts I have.
And always find the joy.
I didn't see it as a sweet time for Mama and Andrew.
I missed it.
I keep envisioning this December 24th.
If all goes well this week,
it will be Andrew's first time back to church since the tumor was discovered.
I can't wait to sit in the pew with him
and see things through his eyes.
I can't wait
to see what he does.
If he yells out "Jingle Bells!!"
I might raise him above my head
and join him
Or we might leave again.
And this time,
I will enjoy the moment
in the chilled air,
as he grabs my hand
and climbs cement blocks
and races through the prayer garden,
happy and playful.