Sunday, December 30, 2007

Contaminated Cake + Holy Sleigh + Church Tantrum = Undeserved Gift

Last week, Challi and I corralled our collective three boys into the car for travels to Lolli and Pops' house, with plans for our hubbies to join us there on Christmas Eve. Armed with I Spy books, toys, snacks, and the trusty DVD player, we settled in for a long winter's trip. And all went well.

Until about 5 minutes after pulling out of the driveway....

Park pinched Kage, who started to sob, which in turn caused Krew to fall to pieces. After Challi warned Park to keep his hands to himself, he, too, began to howl, giving his cousins a run for their money as the winner of Cryfest '07.

Needless to say, by the time we reached our destination 5+ hours later, we were all feeling the Christmas cheer.

I awoke the first morning at my parents' house (a good 4 days BEFORE Christmas) to find Park standing near the Christmas tree, clutching a gift in each hand with his eyes fixed firmly on the window. After I asked him what he was doing, he simply replied, "Waiting." With some further prodding into the purpose of his vigil, he informed me, "I'm waiting on Baby Jesus. Lolli says we can't open presents until he gets here. I guess He's riding in Santa's sleigh."

Clearly all of those scriptures from the 12 Days tradition worked wonders on his understanding of the true meaning of Christmas.

So, to pass the time until "Santa brought Jesus", we baked a birthday cake for Him on Christmas Eve. And although I'm certain that God didn't mind that two snotty nosed little boys were licking their fingers repeatedly as they stirred, Challi and I were cured of any cake cravings we otherwise might have had. Or maybe the fact that the entire bottle of sprinkles used to decorate the cake was the same pile they had previously decorated the floor with led us to eat brownies instead.

Perhaps the highlight of Christmas Eve happened during the service at Lolli and Pops' church. It all started with the pastor innocently inviting people to come kneel at the alter in prayer and/or the Lord's Supper. Since this particular service is always a family one, young children are welcome to walk up and stand beside their parents.

And that probably works very well for people with children who enjoy standing still for long periods of time.

Row by row, we took turns making our way to the front and against my better judgement, I begrudgingly took my wiggle worm with me so I could partake in the ceremonious meal with my family. Mistaking the warning bells ringing in my ears for mere jingle bells that shook in accompaniment to Oh Come all Ye Faithful, I walked head on into the ensuing disaster.

As we neared the front, Park spotted the drum set he had his eye on the entire service and saw this as the perfect opportunity to make a clean break for it. The death grip I had on his hand was to no avail. However, as he shot forward, I did manage to successfully tackle him with a quick scoop around the waist, setting the score at Mommy: ONE, Park: ZERO.

But unfortunately, the victory was short lived.

He burst free in a last ditch effort and made it 3/4 of the way up the stairs to the stage before I wrestled him to the floor. Upon impact, he plotted a quick getaway by crawling under the pew on the front row, hunkering down in a position that has no better description than that of a limp dish rag. Giving me no choice but to snatch him up by the leg and drag his 35 lbs of dead weight into plain view of the entire congregation, I carried the kicking and screaming heap down the center isle and out the back doors of the church.

During the commotion, it appears he managed to snag my cracker, leaving a trail of Holy Sacrament crumbs behind us. Somehow I'm pretty sure this isn't what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you..."

And then I proceeded to give thanks for what I vowed would indeed be Park's last supper.

But, as Mommy's often do, I quickly forgot the previous night's fiasco when I saw the joy in his eyes as he turned the corner to see what Santa had left for him under the tree the next morning. Park loved every moment of Christmas this year. In his own way, I truly believe he grasped that we were celebrating the birth of our King. And although his young mind couldn't quite comprehend the entire meaning of it all, he witnessed the love of his family and came to understood that Christmas is a very special time. As he danced and squealed in delight, painstakingly examining every inch of each toy, he repeated over and over, "This is for ME?? This is REALLY for MEEEEE??!!"

And can I be real with you for a moment? When I think about how Jesus gave His life on that cross, I find myself having the exact same reaction that Park did on Christmas morning.

"This is for ME?? This is REALLY for ME??!!"

I don't deserve it. I have failed Him so many times. I have sinned repeatedly. I have fallen short of His Glory. I have been unworthy of His forgiveness. I have caused Him too much pain.

Yet, despite it all, He chose to die for me.

And alongside my sin, the image of Jesus riding in Santa's sleigh, eating contaminated birthday cake, while watching Park throw a tantrum in God's house reminds me that His grace truly is UNDESERVED.


Kelly said...

Ya'll are so cute and I LOVED your Christmas summary! Thanks for portraying motherhood in such a real but special way!

demetria said...

I loved this post!! Every bit of it. We, too, had a christmas eve service fiasco. you know how the service is "candlelit", right?? well, russ, precious 2-year-old that he is, threw our (unlit, thank heavens)candle two rows ahead of us into the back of a man's head. gasp!! i cowered under the pew for lack of a better hiding place. the people behind us laughed and said he had "quite the arm on him". warm, tender memories. . .

Table for Three said...

I found your blog from another blog and I love it. The cake baking made me laugh. There have been many cakes in our house that I have turned away due to similar baking skills. Hope you have a Happy New Year!

Autumn said...

who is that hottie?? you must tell him he has a secret admirer, lol!

looking at one of the pics of krew i immediately was hit with how much he looks like challi. maybe it was just that picture but it was almost ... well a little like paisley and michael.