The Tragic Optimist

Belated Christmas post

Hope everyone had great holidays this year. We spent Christmas in Chicago with my parents. It meant a long drive with a 2 month old, but Zoe handled the drve like a pro and slept almost the entire way. Sadly, that meant that she didn’t sleep all that well that night, but she bounced back pretty quickly.

With a small baby during Christmas this year, we ran into the tradition of live nativities. Now I don’t remember any of my past churches doing anything like this, but our current church invites parents of small babies (under 6 months or so) to play the part of the holy family in one of the Christmas eve services. Given that Zoe is still quite little (and so cute) we were approached a couple times about doing this. I kind of find the whole thing a little strange, but given that we would be in Chicago, it was really a moot point (so I thought) and I was able to decline gracefully.

Christmas eve comes along, and traditionally my family attends the late-night service (11 pm), but Chris brought up the point that Zoe had been going to sleep for the night around 11:30 or midnight, and usually spent the hour to hour and a half before that cluster feeding, making the 11 pm service less than ideal. We all agreed to go to the 9 pm service instead.

Immediately upon walking into the church at around 8:45 pm, the pastor grabs Chris, Zoe and I and tells us that he’s so happy we’re here and he needs us for the time for children. Seems he is planning to have the children close their eyes and pray really hard for something to happen, and then we’re to quietly go up to the front of the church, put Zoe in the manger, and kneel next to her. Apparently it worked really well at the earlier 4pm service, and since there are a few kids at the 9 pm service, he wants to do it again. I’m dubious of how well it’ll work, but we weren’t really asked, so we agree. My dad tries to intervene, telling the pastor that we won’t be able to do this if Zoe is fussy. Nonsense, says the pastor, baby Jesus was most certainly fussy at times.


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