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On Christmas Eve I was blessed by attending church with my youngest granddaughter, Olivia, because her big sister was sick. We usually go as a trio, so it definitely felt like someone was missing, but we soon settled in comfortably, and it was Olivia’s night to shine.

This morning Miss Olivia absolutely didn’t want to leave her cozy blankets, so Lily and I left her sleeping and went to church, just the two of us. It was a very traditional Christmastide service of Lessons and Carols, one that Lily had never before experienced. When her mama was a baby, this service was always Christmas Eve, and it was my favorite of the entire year.

Other than the silliness of leaving my reading glasses at home, it was a lovely morning. (Fortunately, whomever prepared the script for the day also has senior eyes, so the print was large enough for me to read my section of the lessons with my “bare eyes”, and the hymns were ones I had been singing since childhood.)

If you are unfamiliar with this service, it has been held for over 100 years, with pivotal Biblical lessons from the Fall of Adam and Eve up to and through the birth of Christ, each lesson followed by an appropriate hymn. For me personally it is a reminder of how my own personal Christian faith is not a random act, but has its beginnings in a carefully prepared and foretold series of “God events” that occurred over thousands of years.

Being there with only Lily gave me the opportunity to focus on her understanding and appreciation of the day without needing to keep Olivia occupied. And in the absence of our Crucifer, Lily stepped up and carried the cross in the recessional, which made both of us very proud.

I am so lucky to have these experiences with my girls. My own grandmothers lived in another state as I was growing up, so our visits were brief and generally once a year. To be able to be with them every day and watch them grow right before my eyes is a gift I will always cherish.

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