Well, we dared fate but, by the grace of God, emerged victorious: We took the girls to the 9PM Christmas Vigil Mass. Cecilia slept through pretty much the whole Mass, but she is also the only child who doesn't nap during the day. Felicity had gotten an hour nap in the afternoon, so she was alert and in awe of the poinsettias and the lit trees and the nativity. She kept pointing to the baby Jesus and said He was sleeping. Elizabeth was so excited looking everywhere at once. Unfortunately I didn't discover until we were in Church that she had spit up on her outfit and smelled of vomit. Fortunately the incense helped mask any odor.
Felicity sat quietly reading her books while Elizabeth gave a bouquet of smiles to everyone around us. Fr. Vincent made the mistake of mentioning The Polar Express in his homily and Felicity couldn't stop excitedly repeating, "Choo Choo Express? Choo Choo Express?" By the middle of the homily I was nursing Elizabeth with one arm while Felicity tried to lay on me with the other arm. So, by the intentions, James took Elizabeth, who continued her cheerful self, and I scooped up Felicity who seemed to regain some energy, at least enough to begin organizing the surplus of offertory envelopes in our pew. (Does your parish seem to hemorrhage them as well during Christmas and Easter? LOL. Not that I blame them, but putting extra pencils in the pew does NOT help a mommy of three small children!)
By Communion I was needing to read a bath book of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to keep Felicity content. I saw my friend, who lost her baby halfway through the pregnancy the day before, walk up to communion. (Please keep her and her family in your prayers.) She wiped her eyes often and I could not help but begin crying for her. Felicity took immediate notice and began pointing at my face chanting, "Crying! Crying!" Hushing her ended my tears though a sniffle remained.
We were home by a quarter to 11 and swiftly put Cecilia and Felicity to bed. Elizabeth played on the floor while we went to work putting the presents beneath the tree, all ready for the morning's excitement.
When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.