Christmas and revelations

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas is a pretty laissez faire holiday in the Walchuk household. With both sets of relatives living nearly 2,000 km away, we don't usually adhere to the usual traditions of Christmas. This year, we got a tree, but didn't decorate it until Boxing Day, to the horror of our families.

Although we've been marching to a different drummer for some time, now that we have a family of our own, my hubby is convinced we should start easing a few traditions back into the holiday season. So this year, we decided to attend a church service. He had grown up going to the United Church each Christmas Eve. I grew up in an agnostic household, where Christmas Eve was reserved for card games and movies, but I was willing to go along.

My only experience with organized religion to that point was being dragged to a Baptist service by my Aunt, followed by a long, captive drive with a Church Lady. The whole event was preplanned to convert me, but she took a little too much delight in telling me I was going to Hell for not agreeing with the minister. She even went so far as to outline exactly how it would feel to have the Devil drag me into his fiery pit as I died. I was seven.

Needless to say, she didn't win me over, and organized religion has not been part of my life ever since. But it meant a lot to my hubby, so I decided to grin and bear it, and I'm glad I did.

We went to the early service - the one for families. I was prepared to slink into a seat unnoticed, but we were instantly bombarded with couples, who came up to meet our 10-month-old, John. John could sense that this strange new event was clearly all about him, so was "on" to the delight of everyone. He stood on our pew and boogied to the hymns. He spent most of the service grinning and waving at the two couples sitting behind us. After a while, he got adventurous and crept to the edge of our pew, where he was met with a sea of adoring, smiling faces across the aisle. Our little celebrity walked along the red carpet, waving and smiling, and was so entranced by the attention, he walked face-first into a pew, But he shook himself off, and just kept on smiling and waving to anyone who'd look his way. Then, of course, came a round of peek-a-boo with the elderly couple behind us, as he'd coyfully peek around the pew, only to dart back, all a-giggle.

Eventually, he decided to explore. He ran around the back, until he came across a one-year-old doing the same thing. The other mom and I shared a 'thank -goodness-mine's-not-the-only-one' smile. Our two rebellious kindred spirits chummed around together, playing with the tree lights, and climbing on furniture and poking each other's noses until the service was nearly over. We managed to lure John back to us right at the end, when the candles were lit - he couldn't resist the flame. Once it was over, it was time to bid farewell to his adoring public, who flocked to see him off. He gave them the thrill of a wave goodbye.

My husband left mortified that our usually sweet, obedient John wouldn't sit quietly and listen to a sermon. He found it decidedly un-Christian of our young pup to run around while the minister was speaking. I'm surprised my hubby didn't apologize to him.

But it was the most fun I'd had in ages - after all, isn't that at least part of what church and Christmas are all about? Families spending time enjoying traditions together?

Turns out organized religion has some merits after all. Maybe I can escape that fiery pit after all.

Christmas and revelations

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas is a pretty laissez faire holiday in the Walchuk household. With both sets of relatives living nearly 2,000 km away, we don't usually adhere to the usual traditions of Christmas. This year, we got a tree, but didn't decorate it until Boxing Day, to the horror of our families.

Although we've been marching to a different drummer for some time, now that we have a family of our own, my hubby is convinced we should start easing a few traditions back into the holiday season. So this year, we decided to attend a church service. He had grown up going to the United Church each Christmas Eve. I grew up in an agnostic household, where Christmas Eve was reserved for card games and movies, but I was willing to go along.

My only experience with organized religion to that point was being dragged to a Baptist service by my Aunt, followed by a long, captive drive with a Church Lady. The whole event was preplanned to convert me, but she took a little too much delight in telling me I was going to Hell for not agreeing with the minister. She even went so far as to outline exactly how it would feel to have the Devil drag me into his fiery pit as I died. I was seven.

Needless to say, she didn't win me over, and organized religion has not been part of my life ever since. But it meant a lot to my hubby, so I decided to grin and bear it, and I'm glad I did.

We went to the early service - the one for families. I was prepared to slink into a seat unnoticed, but we were instantly bombarded with couples, who came up to meet our 10-month-old, John. John could sense that this strange new event was clearly all about him, so was "on" to the delight of everyone. He stood on our pew and boogied to the hymns. He spent most of the service grinning and waving at the two couples sitting behind us. After a while, he got adventurous and crept to the edge of our pew, where he was met with a sea of adoring, smiling faces across the aisle. Our little celebrity walked along the red carpet, waving and smiling, and was so entranced by the attention, he walked face-first into a pew, But he shook himself off, and just kept on smiling and waving to anyone who'd look his way. Then, of course, came a round of peek-a-boo with the elderly couple behind us, as he'd coyfully peek around the pew, only to dart back, all a-giggle.

Eventually, he decided to explore. He ran around the back, until he came across a one-year-old doing the same thing. The other mom and I shared a 'thank -goodness-mine's-not-the-only-one' smile. Our two rebellious kindred spirits chummed around together, playing with the tree lights, and climbing on furniture and poking each other's noses until the service was nearly over. We managed to lure John back to us right at the end, when the candles were lit - he couldn't resist the flame. Once it was over, it was time to bid farewell to his adoring public, who flocked to see him off. He gave them the thrill of a wave goodbye.

My husband left mortified that our usually sweet, obedient John wouldn't sit quietly and listen to a sermon. He found it decidedly un-Christian of our young pup to run around while the minister was speaking. I'm surprised my hubby didn't apologize to him.

But it was the most fun I'd had in ages - after all, isn't that at least part of what church and Christmas are all about? Families spending time enjoying traditions together?

Turns out organized religion has some merits after all. Maybe I can escape that fiery pit after all.

Christmas and revelations

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Christmas is a pretty laissez faire holiday in the Walchuk household. With both sets of relatives living nearly 2,000 km away, we don't usually adhere to the usual traditions of Christmas. This year, we got a tree, but didn't decorate it until Boxing Day, to the horror of our families.

Although we've been marching to a different drummer for some time, now that we have a family of our own, my hubby is convinced we should start easing a few traditions back into the holiday season. So this year, we decided to attend a church service. He had grown up going to the United Church each Christmas Eve. I grew up in an agnostic household, where Christmas Eve was reserved for card games and movies, but I was willing to go along.

My only experience with organized religion to that point was being dragged to a Baptist service by my Aunt, followed by a long, captive drive with a Church Lady. The whole event was preplanned to convert me, but she took a little too much delight in telling me I was going to Hell for not agreeing with the minister. She even went so far as to outline exactly how it would feel to have the Devil drag me into his fiery pit as I died. I was seven.

Needless to say, she didn't win me over, and organized religion has not been part of my life ever since. But it meant a lot to my hubby, so I decided to grin and bear it, and I'm glad I did.

We went to the early service - the one for families. I was prepared to slink into a seat unnoticed, but we were instantly bombarded with couples, who came up to meet our 10-month-old, John. John could sense that this strange new event was clearly all about him, so was "on" to the delight of everyone. He stood on our pew and boogied to the hymns. He spent most of the service grinning and waving at the two couples sitting behind us. After a while, he got adventurous and crept to the edge of our pew, where he was met with a sea of adoring, smiling faces across the aisle. Our little celebrity walked along the red carpet, waving and smiling, and was so entranced by the attention, he walked face-first into a pew, But he shook himself off, and just kept on smiling and waving to anyone who'd look his way. Then, of course, came a round of peek-a-boo with the elderly couple behind us, as he'd coyfully peek around the pew, only to dart back, all a-giggle.

Eventually, he decided to explore. He ran around the back, until he came across a one-year-old doing the same thing. The other mom and I shared a 'thank -goodness-mine's-not-the-only-one' smile. Our two rebellious kindred spirits chummed around together, playing with the tree lights, and climbing on furniture and poking each other's noses until the service was nearly over. We managed to lure John back to us right at the end, when the candles were lit - he couldn't resist the flame. Once it was over, it was time to bid farewell to his adoring public, who flocked to see him off. He gave them the thrill of a wave goodbye.

My husband left mortified that our usually sweet, obedient John wouldn't sit quietly and listen to a sermon. He found it decidedly un-Christian of our young pup to run around while the minister was speaking. I'm surprised my hubby didn't apologize to him.

But it was the most fun I'd had in ages - after all, isn't that at least part of what church and Christmas are all about? Families spending time enjoying traditions together?

Turns out organized religion has some merits after all. Maybe I can escape that fiery pit after all.