I'm not allowed to go downstairs right now, because David...er, Santa is putting together my Christmas stocking. So I can't post any pictures of William and Leland playing together this morning when Mary Clare and Leland dropped by with treats. Nor can I post any photos of Grandaddy Aaron's birthday extravaganza at the Wyckoffs' house this evening.
But I can tell you this. We took William to the children's service for Christmas Eve this afternoon, and that was about the most hilarious church service I've ever attended. And I'm a preachers' kid. I've sat through a lot of church services.
You know it's going to be a good time when the acolyte's candlelighter burns out en route to the advent wreath at the very beginning. It took the poor girl a good long time to get all the candles in the advent wreath lit, too, because there was some strange heavenly gust of air directed at the wreath that kept nearly snuffing the candles out. She'd finally get one lit and then she'd hover there uncertainly as the flame leaned wayyyyyy over to one side. Not sure what ecclesiastical message is being imparted there, but it was very entertaining, in William's opinion. Which was good for all of us, too, because it meant we got a short breather in the "Keep William Occupied" game, which involved Christmas coloring pages, Spider-Man fruit treats, raisins, water, and being passed back and forth between all four adults in his family who were in attendance.
Near the end of the service, I think I heard a pew crash to the floor on the other side of the church, but I can't be too sure. I was too busy recovering from trying to suppress my laughter during the offertory. See, our church asks children to bring canned goods to church for a local food bank. I thought, "What a lovely idea" and made sure to pack something for William to offer. But I was totally unprepared for the scrum of kids battling their way to the front of the church to leave their cans of food by the manger. It was like a mosh pit, a school carnival, the starting line of a 5K race, and a junior varsity scrimmage, all rolled into one event. You almost expected to hear Nine Inch Nails playing, instead of "Good Christian Men Rejoice" or whatever. At least two little boys landed on their bellies and skidded down the middle of the aisle as other kids rushed over and around each other for the front. David, who was escorting William and his trusty can of green beans to the manger, even lost track of him at some point.
And did I mention the part in the service where William escaped our clutches and crawled, yes, crawled, down the center aisle toward the door? I could see eight rows of people begin to howl with laughter. I covered my eyes with my hand and slunk down in my pew. Have I ever also mentioned that Larson Family Lore has it that I once broke free of my mother's grasp, slid under the pew, and crawled under the pews away from her, to her great embarrassment? Yeah. We all know where William got it from. Luckily for David, William didn't get as far as I did.
Yes, it was a Christmas Adventure for the Larson-Wyckoff family.
But just in case you thought it was all a farce, let me assure you that there was one magical moment, too. We all stood to sing "Away in the Manger," and William stood up on the pew between David and me. And he sang the entire first verse in time with the music, just like everyone else. I was smiling so hard that I thought my face would split in half. And it made all the other shenanigans worth it all.