Update: The story below took place two years ago. A lot has changed since then! Now that I have two kids—and a little more mothering experience—I have to laugh at myself. I really am in a “different chapter of life” even just a couple years later.  The below is a story of a kid getting hurt in a loud, public, embarrassing way. But it really wasn’t that bad. My second child (a boy!) has endured so much worse. He’s the one who brought us to a burn clinic after touching a hot charcoal grill. He’s fallen down a flight of stairs (and bounced right back)! He’s a lot more rambunctious and prone to injury, but I don’t know if this is because he’s a boy or just because my attention is now divided between two kids! Now he’s the same age Madeline was in the story below. And yes, we’re planning on going to a candlelight Christmas Eve service. Wish me luck!!


My family and I usually go to church on Christmas Eve for a candlelight service.

I was a little nervous about the Christmas Eve service last year. My daughter, Madeline, was just one year old, and childcare wasn’t provided. Toddlers and candlelight usually aren’t a good mix.

But don’t worry… this isn’t a story about a burn.

Just off to the side of the pews there’s another seating area in our church where my husband was letting Madeline wiggle around and burn off some extra energy before the service.

Then, at 5 pm, a reverent hush came over the sanctuary. The service was starting.

BOOM! Madeline had managed to slip between the back and seat of a wooden folding chair. The sound was actually her head hitting the hardwood floor. The initial boom, followed by a scream, called the attention of all the people in the church to Madeline, just in time for us all to watch said folding chair (now folded) fall on top of her. BOOM! Again! It was comical. But horrible!

I ran over to my husband, who scooped up Madeline, and the three of us ran out of the back of the church and downstairs to the basement to calm her down. An egg-sized wound was swelling on her head. I felt so bad for her.

By the end of the service, Madeline had recovered enough to return to the sanctuary, just in time for the lighting of the candles. She loved it, as evidenced by the look of sheer wonder on her face.

As we go through the different chapters of life, our traditions can take on new tones. I always thought of the candlelight service as dignified and solemn, but last year, it was lively and spirited! But the meaning of the candlelight service is always the same: we light candles at Christmas to represent the coming of Christ, the Light of the world, a truly wondrous event. May the joy of the season inspire us all with childlike wonder at the greatest Light of all. (But please, no head injuries this year!)