Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas Eve Nativity


I wanted him to be a shepherd. I wanted him to stand beside the manger that flickered with the glow of two dozen candles and I wanted him to place his little stuffed lamb at Mary's feet whilst the other children grasped their candles and sang 'Silent Night'.

I wanted him to feel the shiver of magic that I felt as a child, when I stood beside that manger on Christmas Eve evening, knowing that a miracle was at hand and that I was included in its magic.

But instead, he opted to sit on my hip and watch.

He laid his tired head on my shoulder and watched as the tiny tinsel-topped angels tripped down the aisle, as boyish shepherds ran in their eagerness to reach the manger and then arranged themselves awkwardly before the crib, and as Mary looked out over a darkened church and sang with such guileless innocence that it almost felt intrusive to watch.

For at least half an hour, my busy little boy - who normally runs laps through the kitchen screaming with excitement at that time of night - didn't move an inch. He just sat in my arms at the back of the packed-out church, his eyes wide with wonder, watching the nativity story unfold around him.

He reached his face towards mine as I sang 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' in his ear, swaying slightly as the melody unfolded, and then he stared in spellbound silence as the children lit their candles and sang 'Away in a Manger' to a church that held its breath in awe.

And as I watched him watching the re-telling of that first Christmas story in the little crib service that hadn't changed one bit since I was a child, I felt tears of wonderment slipping down my cheeks and knew that this experience would be stored forever at the back of his subconscious and that every Christmas for the rest of his life would be a tiny bit richer because of the miracle that had touched him at that moment.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, how beautiful, thank you for sharing your special moment. Happy new year to you, your husband and John x

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