"You look good in church," I tell him.
Of course, everybody looks good in church. The soft light. The stained glass. If I owned a nightclub, I'd copy this flattering look, invite the masses and collect my fortune.
"Please reach into your pocket " the pastor says.
"Already?" I think to myself.
"And pull out your keys " he says.
"Great, now they want my car," I tell my wife.
"Nobody would want your car," she whispers.
"And shake your keys as we all sing 'Jingle Bells,' " the pastor urges.
Hundreds strong, we rise to sing "Jingle Bells." Admittedly, I never really believed in the concept of a one-horse open sleigh. To pull a sleigh properly, you need at least two horses, young and strong. But I play along. It's Christmas.
Bells on bob-tail ring,
making spirits bright,
What fun it is to ride and sing
a sleighing song tonight
I carry the congregation in song for a while, till I get short of breath, then just lip-sync. In my arms, the baby is jingling his older sister's car keys. A little cylinder of Mace, attached to the key chain, dangles in front of my eyes.
It occurs to me that this could easily turn out to be a very memorable Christmas Eve: the one when I got Maced in church.
WE ARE A CATHOLIC- Lutheran-Presbyterian-Irish-Italian-Ukrainian clan, with a splash of German blood thrown on top, like vermouth.
Belonging to this many factions — at one time or another — is a little like having too many credit cards in your wallet. For now, though, we have settled on this beautiful Presbyterian church. On Christmas Eve, they offer five services.