Imperfect Christmas


 I told the directors of the children’s church Christmas program that my son was too young to be a shepherd. He was three years old and not one of those quiet and shy toddlers that look so sweet on the church platform under bright lights. But they insisted and I gave in.

I love children’s Christmas programs. I giggle at Joseph, stumbling across the platform in his daddy’s bathrobe, with a dishtowel wrapped around his head and Mary, serenely holding her baby by his feet. Nothing can really go very wrong in a children’s nativity scene. Everything they do is so cute. Everyone enjoys the silly antics, right? Well, maybe not everyone.

I will admit that my little guy was an adorable shepherd, carrying his white stuffed lamb all over the stage. He sang brightly and smiled widely, standing there among the angels. I was so proud of him! He was doing better than I had expected! Yay!

Suddenly, flash bulbs began popping as other parents started taking pictures. At home he had a cute habit of saying, “Cheeseburgers!” whenever his picture was taken. But for some reason, up there on a stage in front of hundreds of people, he decided to leave off the cheese and he yelled out his version of “burgers”, which came out sounding a lot like “boogers”.

As you can imagine, this got a great response from the crowd. So, he then proudly and LOUDLY repeated his newfound crowd-pleaser exactly six more times! (Yes, I counted.)

I was sitting in a pew along side people who did not know me, so, I admit it, I pretended I did not know my son, and laughed at the cute little boy on the front row. Unfortunately my cover was blown when an old friend sitting in front of me turned around and said, “Susie, he’s just like your brother!”

God did not answer my prayer to have the gift of invisibility just this once. But everyone else enjoyed that Christmas program. In fact, just to let me know how much they enjoyed it, I was to hear the “B” word whispered to me in passing for several weeks thereafter.

In the middle of a season that has become synonymous with stress and extra-long lists of tasks to be finished by December 24th, I hope this little story brought a smile and maybe a giggle. The Pinterest Christmas has been dangled in front of our eyes and it is so easy to see our own holiday as “less than”. We can be subtly robbed of our joy when our decorations, gifts and family do not measure up.

Pinterest and Facebook may be plastered with perfect holiday trees, but God did not create perfect trees. They are all shapes, sizes and heights. Very few are even symmetrical! God loves variety, uniqueness and the occasional mess-up. Why did we decide that everything needs to be clean, smooth and perfect in order to celebrate His birthday?

I am convinced that God laughed at my little shepherd boy as he shouted out “Booger” in the church Christmas program. God bless you and your families as you enjoy one another and may the funny moments outweigh the tough ones.

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God

for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just

as they had been told!”

Luke 2:20 NIV


4 Responses to Imperfect Christmas
  1. Pamela Mursch Steiner
    December 18, 2013 | 3:55 pm

    “boogers” Indeed! I love this! Being the mother of 3 boys, I know exactly how you felt. Somehow we survived motherhood of toddler boys and now we rejoice to have grown young men who may still say “boogers” just to get our goat! Love it love it love it! Thanks for the laugh today. Merry Christmas!!! (Who has perfect Christmas trees? They are really missing out on having the PERFECT Christmas tree, loaded with memories of Christmases past and homemade ornaments by little boys who said “boogers” in the Christmas play!)

    • susie klein
      December 19, 2013 | 11:28 pm

      Thanks Pam! It makes a great story now, so that’s a win!

  2. Dawn Paoletta (
    December 22, 2013 | 8:56 pm

    That is precious! I am also flabbergasted as our titles are similar, in a post I shared this weekend. Great minds think alike-HA! , BUT I love the stories you share about the boys days past! Payback…ha!

    • susie klein
      December 22, 2013 | 10:15 pm

      Thanks Dawn! Just think, you are living the season now with your daughter that will give you your future stories!Haha!