It isn’t often that Christmas falls on a Sunday morning, but this year, I was excited to have two opportunities to gather with the faith community that formed me. Church was casual, and set up in the fire-side room to accommodate the smaller crowd. Donuts and coffee were served and we were encouraged to come in our pajamas. While I edited the invitation to include my fun shirt and sweats- there were many who opted to wear full on pajamas. It was so fun!
Traditionally, Christmas Eve has been my favorite service of the year- but this year- I have to confess that church on Christmas morning was just what I needed.
Before we gathered in the fire side room, I stopped in the sanctuary to just take a minute and pray. When I walked in, the light was gorgeous, and the space offered a holy moment in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time.
After this moment, I headed into the fireside room that was the perfect amount of cozy and warm. With a fire crackling, we began worship. During worship we spent time singing, praying, and listening to different readings of John 1:1-14.
Then, toward the end of worship, we prepared for communion. I had been asked to serve communion ahead of time, and looked forward to serving the many familiar friends that were gathered.
Now, let’s circle back to the invitation to wear pajamas. As I stood up front serving the bread next to my mom who was serving the cup, I watched as a little boy made his way forward. He was about 3 years old and had come dressed in monkey footie pajamas, complete with a hat. So, he literally looked like a monkey. And he was absolutely precious.
He came forward to receive communion with his father and as he came, I knelt to be face to face with him. Looking back at me were big, glass blue eyes full of wonder. He smiled and took a piece of bread and popped it in his mouth saying “mmmm”, and I said “that was a good taste test, now you get to grab another piece and dip it in the juice!” He looked at his dad as if asking permission, and then took another piece of bread. The pastor was just to the left of me, and met the little boy’s breadfilled hand with the cup of juice for him to dip. He dipped it in, ate it, looked at me and began to walk back to his seat. As he and his dad walked back, the little boy looked up at his dad and whispered “that was delicious!”
This was a moment that I will remember for a long time to come- a sweet, tender moment where a little one celebrated the meal and rejoiced. What a gift.
And it hit me- this was a moment that wouldn’t happen in the formality of the Christmas Eve service. But this moment is what Christmas is all about- Welcoming a child, full of wonder, and walking away changed.
This was my Christmas moment- and I am so grateful it happened. And ironically enough- it happened in an unexpected place, and at an unexpected time- and yet, the joy and love of Christmas met me in the sharing of bread and cup with a sweet little boy in monkey footie pajamas.
What were your unexpected Christmas moments? Where did you experience a moment of joy? Mine was in serving communion to a monkey, may yours be unexpectedly delightful, just as the coming of Christ was.