Several weeks ago I received an email invitation for Mac, my wife and I to represent the Holy Family at one of the church services on Christmas Eve. Assuming this invite went out to every member of the church who had a child this year, I waited about a week to respond to give others ample opportunity to volunteer. I figured we may as well let them know we were available, since we were planning to attend the 10PM service that night anyway. Included in my response was the following:
“My family would be available Christmas Eve. We should make mention that our son, Macallister, is 10 months old and he is big for his age. Another newer, perhaps smaller baby, may make for a more convincing baby Jesus. However, if you do not find any other volunteers we would be happy to do it.”
Within a minutes, we had a response thanking us for volunteering and confirming that it was indeed us who were on for the 10PM service. They dismissed my concerns about his size, and were just happy that we accepted one of the more difficult to fill time slots.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve morning, the day of the big performance. Mac woke up with one eye crusted shut. That’s right, Mac had pink eye. Immediately, I felt a little upset, saying how did this happen and who gave this to him. But those feelings were quickly replaced with disappointment, as clearly this puts his appearance at church in jeopardy. We called the doctor and they confirmed our suspicion, and prescribed eye drops. The doctor recommended that he not partake in the planned evening activity as he would be contagious for 24 hours.
After getting the prescription and administering the first round of drops, the discussion began about whether or not we should actually keep him home from church. After all, it’s not like anyone would be touching him or his eyes. We got opinions from the grandparents, and ultimately it came down to my wife and I making the final decision. I was convinced that it would be fine and he would be sleeping and no one would get pink eye from him. However, there was a point later in the day when I determined that I’d better not push any further or it might just be a Joseph and a Jesus, and no Mary…
Ultimately I do feel that we (mostly my wife) made the best decision for Mac, and for the rest of the congregation. It would’ve been awful if even one unsuspecting member wore up with an unfortunate Christmas present of pink eye from Mac. I did feel bad that we were not able to go, and that with such short notice, they would likely go without a baby Jesus at the late service. I offered to wrap myself in soft linens and lay in the manger, but that wasn’t as funny to anyone else as it was to me.
I prefer playing with the bows and the wrapping paper over whatever is in this present! -Mac