(This was more than could be said for his father. Abby hadn't closed the sippy cup properly when she handed it to Jim back at home. By the time we got to church it had entirely spilled out of his coat pocket and all over his bum!)
The Children's Sermon was early in the program, and Graham jumped at the chance to join the other children (that he didn't even know) at the altar. He sat quietly beside Pastor Sara and when it was time to take a collection, she gave him one of the baskets. My first thought, "This isn't going to end well...." But he happily walked around the church with an older boy. Graham said, "Thank you," to those who dropped their Christmas note in his basket. He returned to the nativity scene as directed and was quite well behaved (and cute).
Once that part of the service was complete, the children from the Sunday School were staying in the front of the church to light the Advent Wreath. Graham was a little resistant to coming back to sit with us, so Sara told him he could stay and help. There was a little chuckling from the few people who saw him grab a song book from another kid.
I was lamenting the fact that the camera was downstairs in Jim's coat. Abby jumped in to capture the moment like a court reporter:
Jim (with wet bum) was near the front of the church-- he had a similar thoughts and ran to get our camera in the back.... adding to the circus atmosphere:
Now, this would have been a real sweet story if Graham had just come back to us when it was over... like all the other kids. But I told you it wouldn't end well!
As the kids scurried back to their families, the Senior Choir stood ready to sing the anthem. Graham took this as his cue to join them. Jim (fortunately) thought this wasn't the best idea. He instructed Graham that it was time to sit down. Graham clearly replied, "No," much to the delight of the congregation. So Jim scooped Graham up. Graham (unfortunately) started crying. Loud. With huge crocodile tears. I shrunk into my seat. Jim ran down the side aisle to take Graham to the nursery in the basement. I followed at a distance of 10 paces.
When we got downstairs, Graham (fully recovered) played with some fire trucks. Jim told me they'd spend the rest of the service downstairs quietly. I returned to my seat, relieved.
Not 10 minutes later, I saw them come back. As Jim tried to slip in next to me, Graham started yelling again. Insisting he should be sitting with Sara at the altar. We raced back downstairs (by now, I am sure even those who thought he was cute had had enough of our antics). I gave Jim a terrible scowl. He explained, "He came over and hugged and kissed me. He was asking for you! He promised to be good!" Honey, you were played by a kid who can't get enough of the lime light! :)
They did return for the last hymn, (ironically) Silent Night. Graham kept trying to blow out the candle. Then he knocked hot wax all over my bare arm.
Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good night.