Freedom is Coming

December 9, 2009
Last night was the YDS Advent Service. I put aside all sense of logic (a 90 minute service. at night. for adults…what in that description screams “bring your toddler”?) and brought her. She did rather well, all things considered. We sat in a back row behind the pulpit (in a round worship set up); we could see pretty well, but our escape route was also pretty clearly defined, too. Every ten minutes or so, the service shifted to something new, usually something sensory, which was just about right. Every time I’d get to the “okay, I can’t hold her together any longer, time to make our exit” point, something new would happen…a dancer, a drummer, a choir, candles, colored lights on the ceiling, a giant tree being formed before our very eyes.

This is a girl who knows how to do joy. She smiles wider than wide, sucks in her breath with delight, and has been known to stage whisper whatever she is thinking at the moment.

“Oh, mommy, oh!” marked the stars illuminated on the ceiling.

“Special” when the candles came out.

While it was stressful to try to keep her exuberance and commentary contained enough that the others present could worship, it was delightful to see it new through her eyes. This was my 9th advent service at YDS. It was also my first.

The highlight of the service was the construction of the big tree in the center of the chapel. The trunk and branches were there from the beginning, (Selam thought they were arms—she put my arm next to hers to show me–“arms, Mommy, arms.”) and they added green leaves that had been written on by members of the congregation. Pulleys set these leaves flying toward the fingertips of the branches. While this happened, we sang.

“Freedom is coming. Freedom is coming. Freedom is Coming, Oh yes, I know.”

She liked seeing Ato Patrick lead the singing. She liked bobbing her head and shaking her thin shoulders to the beat. She learned the words and tune quickly and her sweet voice found my ears. But we sang the song many times. And it was toward the end of the service, and bedtime had come and gone.

“We’re almost there, Mommy,” she said, mimicking the words I say when she is tired in the car, words I didn’t realize she’d learned.

“Freedom is coming, freedom is coming, freedom is coming, oh yes, I know.”

“Almost there, Mommy.”

“Freedom is coming, freedom is coming, freedom is coming, oh yes, I know.”

“Just a little longer.”

“Freedom is coming, freedom is coming, freedom is coming, oh yes, I know.”

“Pretty soon, Mommy”

“Freedom is coming, freedom is coming, freedom is coming, oh yes, I know.”

“Almost there, Mommy. Almost there.”

Amen, child. May it be so.

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