by Chrysa Smith

One of the joys I don’t intimately experience at Christmas is the presence of little children. With no young nieces or nephews, a son in college and (hopefully), no grandchildren (yet) for a few more years, I’m surrounded by adults. Even the poodles are now, officially canine adults–although their behavior is a bit suspect.

So it is with great enjoyment and a little giggle that I can experience a stroll down memory lane from a distance. And this Sunday, I got a nice dose of raw innocence all over again. You see, as an acolyte (altar server) who experiences Sunday morning services up close and personally, I get a fascinating view of what the congregation doesn’t see from their seats—and that is the expression, quirks, positions, dallying, fidgeting, nose-picking, hair-fixing and other gyrations that occur as the tiniest members of the congregation come forward to sit close to the priest for a customized talk written and delivered expressly for them.

If I could capture the thought bubbles floating up from each little head, the random stream of consciousness would go something like this:

‘What is she talking about?…..I hope she doesn’t call on me…….I can see myself in the reflection from her glasses……So glad I have my bunny with me……Is my dad still sitting behind me?…..I can’t wait to play my video game when I get home…….Is my bow coming out of my ponytail?…. Who is John and what’s a baptist?…..I like those pretty candles…..

Of course, all of this is accompanied by a little hand waving to the crucifix, red lights flashing on little sneakers and the smallest audience members, crawling across the floor. It’s the kind of stuff that some adults can find distracting; while others, enchanting.

Whatever the mood, two weeks before Christmas, I was glad to be scheduled to partake in this service for the very first time. It put my ‘to do’ list on hold for at least a little while, and let me experience the innocence, the socially unconscious, the unmasked, raw reality of people who are mask-less and unaware in the best possible way.

This Christmas, my blanket wish for all is to capture that joy, innocence and blissful emptiness of social mores that so often gets in the way of being real. May Christmas bounce you back to childhood once again; spring you forward into consciously bringing that spirit into your life—even without the blinking sneakers, stuffed animals and hand-holding to go with it.

Go on and have yourself a Merry, Little Christmas…..