Chapter 39: Christmas Eve Service

Connor and Daisy took their place in the family row, right before the worship service began.

Grandma Rose looked down at Daisy’s bare feet. “Oh darl ‘in,” she mumbled.

“I didn’t have my house key.” Daisy shrugged, “What was I supposed to do?”

“Oh my. We weren’t thinking, were we.” She patted Daisy’s knee sympathetically.

Connor chuckled softly. Daisy poked him in the ribs with her elbow, trying to get him to shut up, but it only encouraged him to laugh louder. “Quit it, Day,” he laughed.

“Shhhhhh.”

“Look. She’s barefoot.” Connor pointed to a little girl twirling around in the center aisle so her Christmas dress would poof out.

“She’s two years old,” Daisy returned dryly.

“Still barefoot…”

Daisy and Connor watched the tiny, twirling ballerina and smiled.

Up front, Mark sat on a stool tuning his guitar, while Susan adjusted the mics. When she was done, a deacon came forward, made a few brief announcements and opened in prayer.

Once the opening prayer was done, Mark began gracefully strumming his guitar and singing.

Daisy had heard him bum around with his guitar at home or the beach hundreds of times. But this, this wasn’t bumming around. This was something special. “You just have to be born with a voice like that,” she sighed to herself.

Susan echoed Mark’s words now. Their voices rose and fell with the melody, flawlessly, in a Christmas song about how God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to save the lost. Susan raised her eyes and her free hand, towards the sky as if reaching out for someone. Her smile signified that she had found the One she was reaching for.

Everyone in the congregation stood and raised their hands to the sky as well. The room was filled with a beautiful intertwining of voices of every kind. Some voices were high-pitched and delicate, others were joyous and booming, but somehow, as different as they all were, they blended together to make a lovely group gift to the Lord.

Mark and Susan led the congregation into a second and then a third song.

Daisy and Connor’s hearts were lifted up high into a place they had never gone before. A place where they could feel God’s kindness and love. A place where you wanted to be known and were free to admit your deepest secrets without fear. It was better than “Daisy and Connor’s world”. It was a place where God lived. God inhabits the praises of his people, didn’t Mark say that once? Daisy tried to recall the moment she’d heard him say it. She reached out to hold Connor’s hand, and he took it eagerly. He smiled down at her. She could see tears sparkling in the corners of his eyes and she knew that he felt the same thing she felt.

She whispered her question to him, “Didn’t Mark say once, that God inhabits the praises of His people?”

“Yea, I think he did. I can feel God in this worship, that’s for sure.” Connor placed his hand on her neck and pulled her a little closer to whisper again, “Let’s invite God into our world, into Daisy and Connor’s world.”

“I was just thinking that!” she whispered back excitedly. “But how do we do it?”

“Mmm… I’m not sure. Let’s ask.” They both sat back down in their seats, held hands and Connor asked, “Dear Jesus, we can feel Your presence right now. We wanna always feel it. We’d like to invite You into our private world, to be with us always.”

Daisy added her “Amen” at the end of their request. Then she reached up and hugged Connor around the neck. “Thank you, Connor. Thank you.”

“No problem, babe.” He held her there, soaking up her warm hug, truly blessed.

The music began to die down and people were now sitting in their seats either talking or praying or gathering up children and escorting them to the side door where the children’s classes were located.

Vanessa Langley quietly came up behind Daisy and Connor and touched them on the back. “Excuse me, I don’t mean to bother you two, but I could use your help tonight if  you don’t mind.”

“What is it Mrs. Langley?” Connor asked.

“Well, we always have a lot of visitors on Christmas Eve. That means we also have an overflow of visiting children in the toddler room. We don’t have enough hands to hold them all. Do you think you could sit in the toddler room and hold some little people?” she asked hopefully.

Daisy smiled. “I like children Mrs. Langley. I wouldn’t mind at all.”

“Me either,” Connor added.

“Okay then, just follow me.” They left for the toddler room together.

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Mrs. Langley slowly opened the toddler door, being careful not to knock anyone over as she did so. “Yoo-hoo, anyone back there?” After a good peek around the door, they walked in.

Daisy and Connor were shocked at the high energy the room exuded. They’d never seen so many toddlers in one room before. Mrs. Langley had been correct. The church definitely had an “overflow” this Christmas evening. The toddlers moved about like busy little bees. Some played with toys on the floor, while others noisily chased their buddies around the room. Half the room was painted a florescent purple color and the other half was painted florescent green color. The giant words Let All Creation Praise Him! were brightly painted in large letters across the top of each wall. It was an eye-popping vision to behold.

“Some paint job,” Connor whispered in Daisy’s ear. “Do you think the walls glow when the lights are out?”

“Probably,” she giggled.

There were only two adults in the room. Each one was bouncing a crying child on their hip as they set up the snack table.

“This is Beth and this is Hope.” Mrs. Langley held her hand out to each young lady as she introduced them. Both Beth and Hope looked up and smiled at the much needed, new recruits. Mrs. Langley continued, “This is Daisy and Connor, they have agreed to be some extra hands for you tonight.”

“Great, we could really use some help in here,” Beth said as she handed Daisy the crying child from her hip. “If you hold the crying ones then I can move around and help the others with their snacks.”

Hope walked over to Connor and did the same thing. She handed Connor her crying child. “Here ya go.” She smiled thankfully then turned around quick-as-a-whip, clapping her hands loudly. “Okay little people, let’s all sit down and have some Christmas cupcakes!”

“YEAH!” All the children, except the two criers, rushed at top speed to the same chair. Beth and Hope now had free hands to help the little guys get situated in separate chairs.

Daisy sat down in a rocker and began to sing Jesus Loves Me to the crying child in her arms. Connor smiled. It gave him a warm fuzzy feeling to watch her sing to a small child. But he couldn’t drift off into “Daisy watching” right now. He had his own crying toddler to deal with.

Connor was holding a little boy in brand new red overalls with Rudolf on the front. His mother had obviously gone to a great deal of trouble to dress him up in his Christmas best. But the little guy didn’t care about Rudolf or cupcakes or being in class. He was crying in a most heart wrenching way. “Maaaaa—-meeee, I want my Maaaaa—-meeeee!”

Connor studied the miserable child, wondering what he should do. He saw the blocks all over the floor and decided to try that. He sat down with the crying child in his lap and began building a simple tower.

After a short time the boy wiped his face off on Connor’s nice, clean, green sweater. Connor cringed at the yucky spot the boy left on his sweater. “Man, this is the sweater that matches Daisy’s new dress.” But the boy was feeling better and starting to notice the tall tower that was being built in front of him. “That’s a good thing, I guess.” So Connor forgot about his sweater and continued his efforts to cheer the boy up.

The boy bent over and picked up a block. Connor assumed that he was going to put it on the tower. But that wasn’t what he did, instead he swung his arm wildly and knocked the tower over! Connor froze. The boy stood up and with jubilant laughter stepped on all the pieces. When he was done, he sat back down again in Connor’s frozen lap.

“Come on.” The boy tugged on Connor’s hand. “Make it again,” he giggled.

Daisy smiled at Connor’s shocked expression. “Seems like toddlers learn to tear down first. Maybe later on, he’ll learn the building part. Go ahead, build another.”

Connor shook his head. “I’m sure this kid knows how to stack blocks, Day. I don’t buy all this cry ‘in stuff, not one bit.” He looked down at the child in his lap. “I’m not buy ‘in it, ya hear me big guy?”

The little boy wiped his nose off on Connor’s nice, green sweater again then he straightened up into his biggest big boy pose.

“That’s just nasty, man,” Connor mumbled. Then he looked up at the ceiling shouting, “Anybody got any tissue?!”

Beth tossed a box across the room. Connor caught it midair. “Thanks.” He looked down at the child in his lap. “Now, this here is tissue. God made it for your nose, man.” He wiped the boys nose real good then built a new tower. The boy again knocked it over and this time they both laughed.

“Pretty cool, pretty cool.” Connor’s inner child emerged. He built fancier and fancier towers for the little Godzilla to stomp on. He found match box cars and added roads and cars to the towers. He built whole towns with as much detail as the toddler room toys would allow.

After the snack table kids mowed through all the cupcakes, they felt they needed to investigate Connor’s Godzilla corner. They demolished Connor’s towns and clapped together with the little red Rudolf guy. “Build it again! Build it again!” they hollered in unison.

As time went on, the children did become a little more interested in the building process. This led Connor to a new idea. “Okay people, let’s switch. You build a city and I will be Godzilla.” All the toddlers agreed without fully comprehending what he meant. They did manage to build something like a town however and Connor stomped all over it, making big, scary, monster noises in the process.

Two of the toddlers became angry and tried to defend the homemade town and another pair stood to the side of the mess, crying. But there were a few who understood and copied Connor. They stomped on the town energetically right along with him.

“They’re all so different, aren’t they?” Connor stated in an amazed voice.

Daisy smiled “Yea, funny, huh? Build a new one.”

So Connor knelt down again and built six towers in a row and let them knock them over one at a time. The anger and the crying dissolved into laughter once more.

The evening went on in this way, until mothers returned for pick-up. All the children had fallen in love with Connor and didn’t want to leave Godzilla corner. With teary eyes they reluctantly waved good night to him and went home with their parents.

Once the children were gone, Hope and Beth hugged Daisy and Connor. “We can’t thank you enough. You were both so much help. Thank you for coming.

If you like the toddlers you can mention it to Mrs. Langley and she can put you on the Sunday school schedule so you can help out again.” They smiled hopefully.

“Sure, we will mention it to her that we liked the toddler class,” Daisy said as she left with Connor.

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Connor put his arm lightly on Daisy’s shoulder as they walked down the hallway.

“Day, that boy in the red, wiped his snotty nose all over my sweater. Does it come out?” He looked at her with a worried expression.

“Of course it comes out, silly. Let’s stop in the kitchen and get a paper towel with some water on it.”

They made a turn and entered the kitchen. Connor leaned against the kitchen sink and lightly rested his hands on her hips as she ran some water over a paper towel and cleaned the spot for him.

“See, it comes out.”

“Thanks. I didn’t know if that stuff came out or not. It looked like liquid cement to me.”

Daisy’s eyes sparkled at his comment. She tried not to laugh but she couldn’t help it. “Do you think you want to volunteer again for that class? We did tell those girls we would talk to Mrs. Langley. You might end up with more liquid cement on your clothes, you know.”

“Yea, I liked the little Godzillas. I will just wear different clothes is all.” He smiled, “Are you okay with the class?”

“Yea, let’s do it together.”

“How come you didn’t get any mess on your dress?”

“Well, my child fell asleep when I sang to him.”

“I guess I would fall asleep if you sang to me too,” Connor returned tenderly.

“I will keep that in mind just in case I need to help you sleep sometime.” Sudden shyness crept over Daisy’s face.

He kissed her lightly on the cheek whispering, “That’d be sweet,” in her ear. “Let’s go home.”

“Kay.”

Hand in hand, they walked out into the parking lot. When they reached the car Daisy suddenly realized something. “Do you know what?”

“What?”

“Not one person noticed my feet but Grandma.”

            “That’s right,” Connor said as he helped her in the car. “They probably couldn’t get past your eyes, Daisy girl. You are the prettiest girl around, you know,” he stated proudly as he shut her car door.

Buzz’in with the Babes

I heard a little bee buzz ’in one day

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

What ’cha buzz ’in ‘bout in such a cheerful way?

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

I’m buzz ’in ‘bout my Maker, who gave me this cool buzzer

I’m tell ’in Him thank ‘ya for mak ’in me like no other

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

Is that all little bee, that you’ve got to say?

Cause you sure are buzz ’in, in a most unstoppable way

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

Now that you mention it, I do have to say

I’m filled to the top with praises this day

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

Little bee, little bee, buzz ’in all around me

What praise is filling you, on this particular day?

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

My buzzer will buzz, cause that’s how I’m made

My Maker has made me, to praise Him, in just-such-a-way

Buzz-Buzz, Buzz-Buzz

You go on then and praise Him, cause that’s how you’re made

I know there are others, who buzz, in the same kind-a-way

Psalms 8:2 says it best on this Christmas Eve day:

From the lips of children, God has ordained praise,

their praise silences the enemy and forbids him (the enemy) to stay

We’ll all do so well, if we do not delay

and grab the hand of a child and praise HIM forever and a day

Buzz ‘in with the Babes

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