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Imperfect Christmas: A Priceless Memory

Several years ago, we drove a three-year-old Elli (you can read more about Elli’s story by scrolling down to “Elli’s Story” in the right sidebar and reading the links there) and one-year-old Big Boy a few hours north to my parents’ house for Christmas. My family celebrates Jesus’ birthday with a pork roast dinner and cherry pound cake on Christmas Eve on fine china. It’s a beautiful and delicious meal that brings back fond memories from childhood.

That year, their church had a beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service after dinner. After dressing up, we bundled the kids up and headed out into the frosty evening. Inside the sanctuary, we found seats on an aisle about 2/3 the way up, removing one seat so Elli’s Kid Kart would fit without blocking the aisle. Pointsettias, wreaths, trees with twinkling white lights, and candles gave the room a soft warm ambiance.

After singing all the familiar favorite Christmas carols, they began serving communion. In this church, they passed circular trays of grape juice in tiny cups, followed by plates of broken bread. The pastor invited everyone to bow their heads and pray privately before he blessed the juice and we drank it together.

We all sat, heads bowed, utter silence despite the 200 or so people, communing with the God who had become a baby and lived among us. It was as close to Norman Rockwell as you could get in 2003.

“BUUUURP.” The belch was long and loud.

I froze. That sound came from our child. In the most silent minute of the entire night. I was horrified.

But as I glanced down the row, I spotted Scott’s shoulders shaking in silent laughter. As was everyone else’s in the entire row. A beautiful but unmemorable moment had been transformed into an imperfect but infinitely valuable memory.

Join Mary and read more from those who are “Giving Up On a Perfect Christmas” over at Giving Up On Perfect.

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