A Christmas Miracle

At the beginning of December, we set up a paper “countdown to cousins” calendar next to our traditional felt advent one. There is a one day differential between the two and the excitement grows as we tick the numbers off each morning. When the cousins arrive from Philadelphia on the 23rd, screams and excitement of a dream-come-true echo through the house as the adults unpack the luggage and fill the rooms with chaos and love. Just after I told my brother our children are at an age not requiring constant monitoring, we hear a thump and a scream. Loud sobbing alerts us to the idea I have jinxed our children’s health in some way. We run upstairs to find Cheyney with blood pouring onto the white rug and a black hole in the front of her mouth. The cost of her ride is two front teeth. A doctor friend rushes over to check the damage and tells us she will be fine, just a little bruised and swollen. It seems fitting her appearance will be a bit haggard for her role in the pageant as a wise woman. Though the familiar bible story congers up images of Kate and William, I imagine the three prophets were a bit less polished by the time they arrived.

All family members attend the pageant to witness a narrator, a town person, two guest sheep and of course the toothless Queen. By the evening, the frenzy of the morning and last minute Christmas duties leave us in a wake of calm, if not exhaustion. Only a few make it to the Christmas Eve service. I can’t imagine where we parked because once we step into the church, there is no room. Ushers greet us with smiles and programs but offer no help in finding a seat. As I scan the crowd for a sliver of space in the pew, I balance my frustration with many unknown faces and the joy of sitting in a packed church. We create a spot, one in front of the other, with folding chairs and two children sitting on the floor.

The poinsettias, the music, the pageantry are regal and transportive. I am thankful I have made the time for this gift to myself. Once the gospel begins, I feel in the Christmas mood. During the reading, a tap on my shoulder causes me to lean over for what has to be the best church question ever: “What’s a virgin?” Gathering courage and my quietest whisper, I reply: “Someone who has not had sex.” “Oh. But isn’t that how babies are made?” “Yes.” A silence ensues and I feel relief at dodging a bullet. I look at my inquisitive questioner while she ponders these things in her heart. Her look of doubt and confusion gradually transforms into a surprised joy. I get to witness the wonder of Jesus’s birth -and the miracle it is- as my child understands for the first time.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindi Bartol on December 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the resend – a very, very good one~ hugs and love…


  2. Posted by John Constance on December 30, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Always special. Thanks Mel


  3. Posted by mary holly bigelow on January 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Melanie, that was lovely. Happy New Year to all of you.


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