The program ran 50 full minutes past the promised ending time. Fifty! That's almost an hour, and I quite honestly did not want to be there at all. All those little kids stumbling over "Away in a Manger" on the piano, violin, and recorder! All the cutesy skits in which no one can hear a word, all the showcasing of true and supposed talents. I just wasn't in the mood.
But my youngest was performing with his World War I class, singing "Silent Night" in both English and German. Of course we had to go. Of course his performance was the very last one. Instead of arriving at 6:45, I could have stayed home until 9 p.m. and still made it there in time for his 3 minute song.
But somewhere about halfway through, I fell in love. It wasn't even a Christmas song, as far as I know, but this calm, pretty 11-year-old played a simple, lovely song on the piano. I stopped thinking about how many more acts the bulletin promised (13 at that point) and noticed the lights on the stage, tiny twinkling stars on the trees and wreaths. I looked at the baby two rows in front of me and watched her mama smile at her with a look of absolute, pure love. I glanced back at my teenage daughter, surrounded by friends in the back row. I thought about my girlfriends on either side of me, with whom just moments before I shared the kind of belly-shaking laughter that one rarely experiences as an adult.
I thought about all these years I have been going to Christmas programs and all the ways my children have brought me to tears: reciting scripture, dancing, playing an instrument, singing, acting in plays. I thought about what an incredible privilege it is to have these children, to have this season of life when peace comes even more abundantly after the bustle. When we are not lonely but filled to the brim with carols and lights and laughter.
I won't say I didn't squirm and want to knock my head against the pew in front of me a few times after that little girl played "Peace" on the piano. But I came home feeling warm and fuzzy—and ready to prepare Him room.
Linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky, back only for the month of December!