This morning we had a pared down Christmas service at church. Lots of family circumstances are different this year, and not just in our little corner of the world. Seems like every household is enduring something difficult that, collectively, has changed the landscape of our church. Without quite enough people to put on our traditional Nativity production, we gathered today for preaching, cookies and juice, and singing. Lots and lots of singing.
We sang so many songs.
At the top o' the mornin' my husband was called up to the pulpit to sing some traditional tear-jerkers with his Uncle David, a fellow preacher. This duo was intended to, well, elicit those much anticipated holiday blubberings. You know, hearing the old songs in reverent, baritone voices, feeling those decades-old holiday memories swirl around us, and getting all caught up in the salt water magic. Help us purge the pain by candlelight.
But guess who was not ready to cry Christmas tears? Who was, instead, ready to break it down Elvis style?
He sauntered up to the microphone and openly referred to his mother, our organist and Pastor's wife, as "Little Lady." He shimmied his voice and curled his upper lip at every opportunity. He cheerfully complained about every key in which she played said organ, completely interrupting the flow of the service. But somehow this festive anarchy drummed up smiles instead of sneers. Tendrils of laughter began to smoke up from the congregation, everyone relaxed, and pretty soon my guy was in full on Christmas Elvis mode.
For the record, lots of people were laughing.
Let’s establish that early on.
But an old friend, Beatrice, who was seated with her fiancee behind me was laughing a lot. Way more than me, just so you know, although I was laughing too.
Eventually we were kind of laughing with inappropriate volume and energy for a church service. A Christmas church service. A Christmas church service that was supposed to be sad, or at least somber. It was wrong, but I could not stop.
And you know how a good belly laugh takes on a life of its own? Well, that definitely happened, and on top of that, Handsome’s inner comic totally fed off of our unbridled goofiness. My friend Beatrice and I may or may not have crossed the line from “entertained” to just plain “rude,” but let’s not judge.
The point is that about halfway through the singing, the Little Lady called Beatrice and me up to the microphone.
Neither of us is a singer by nature, so we froze like startled fainting goats. We even let out those pitiful little terrified moans before our stiff little goat legs sprang up into the air.
Unwilling to suffer the consequences of not only interrupting service but then rebelling against the sense of singing teamwork, Beatrice and I righted our goat selves from shock and tiptoed reluctantly to the pulpit.
Handsome, the guilty instigator but crowd-approved victim of heckling, was way too happy to thrust microphones into our mortified faces. And he was still Elvissing! S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y.
My giggling came to a screeching halt and my face was hot like lava. Hot like Elvis. Hot like not heaven. We proceeded to fake like we were singing until we realized nobody else was singing with us, just watching. We were busted lip syncing to nothing, relying on the guys to smooth out our nonexistent tones.
Let me just say that if I am wrong here
and Beatrice was in fact singing,
she was as quiet as a butterfly.
A scared, mute, sleeping butterfly.
We were on the hook for way more than one song and the microphones were not leaving, so verse by verse I tried to muster up a Christmas groove. I probably sounded like a donkey going through prepubescent voice changes, but I pressed out every word. Beatrice gradually sang too but physically retreated inch by inch away from the mic.
Her backwards scooting became so pronounced that eventually Uncle David exclaimed on it loud and clear, "If you push us back anymore we'll be off the platform!" Laughter exploded at this point, and that might have been the final song. Our punishment was evidently fulfilled.
I am not sure if there is a clear lesson to be learned here, but the anatomy of karma cannot be overlooked. I will say that the mood was lightened and brightened far past our gloomy expectations for today.
And for me it was worth it.
Wishing you some MERRY for your Christmas...
And cheers to living with no regrets.