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English: Easter holidays in the Bulgarian Orth...

English: Easter holidays in the Bulgarian Orthodox church. Candles on Good Friday, at the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius, Slivnitsa, Bulgaria Български: Великденски празници в българската православна църква. Свещи запалени на Разпети петък, в църквата “Свети Свети Кирил и Методий”, Сливница, България. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everyone looks forward to their days off. Whether you like your job or not, you still need a break and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t want to “relax” for a day or two. When the really big holidays come around, it’s all about the time spent on that special day with people you love. I realize this descriptions does not depict reality for all people, but for many it does.

What do “holidays” mean in a family of a member of the clergy?

It means work. First off, the Reverend needs to prepare his usual sermon, but with the specific holiday flair. Coming up with something special for a holiday that happens every year is, I’m sure, a task that leaves The Reverend searching for new ideas. Even though the message of the Holy Day remains the same, it is up to the Reverend to come up with a way to communicate it in such a way that it’s not the same ol’ tale time after time, but that the holiday takes on new and fresh meaning in the lives of the believers he is delivering his message to.

Then, with some holidays, comes an expectation of a children’s program. This means that many within the church are working to get this ready. In our case, it’s a small church. We all work together to make it happen.

For us, holidays means an extra chance to embarrass ourselves in public. In the past, if our children were going on stage, it was sure to be a show.

I would think to myself, “Aw, look at my precious little darlings up there, all spiffy…except for the brown smudge of chocolate across his cheek…who gave him chocolate?” I would sit in front row and encourage them to sing with hand gestures and a smile…

Inevitably this would be interrupted, about now, to a wrestling match over which one of my kids would hold the mike. It was especially entertaining to hear their grunts, groans and screeches magnified on the sound system.  One year it was an all out brawl. That was our first Christmas in the church. Quite a site to see the Pastor’s Kids fighting like it was a death match. Anyhow, I have pretty much learned to sit back and enjoy.

There was on Christmas Eve when my toddler fell off the stage, popped back up and said “ow” and then went back up. Then, someone gave my kids candy canes (to keep them quiet) and they got all gooey and red and sticky. Then, when I tried to wipe it off with paper towel, they had chunks of that all over themselves. Our turn was up and so they went on stage with fuzzy, red, gooey stuff on them. Looking like tarnished angels, they stood silent….while I sang the song, they should have sung, from the front row.

Ah, it’s all good. I wonder each year, with some trepidation, how we will humiliate ourselves this time. Apparently, it makes us look like real people. Not sure if we’re supposed to look or act like fake people, but it doesn’t get any more real than us, I can tell you! In fact, if I could choose to look more perfect and put together as the Pastor’s family, I would. But frankly, I am not able to convince the little people that it’s a good plan. They insist on being the real deal. I never really liked perfection anyways…

And so, “holidays” are work, and are not days off for us, and sometimes we act really real in public,  but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what we do. I love who we are. I adore that our church lets us be us.

They applaud when we fall off the stage. Not really, but inside I know they do.


4 thoughts on ““Holidays”

  1. It sounds like you have a great church that really embrasses you and your family and loves you no matter what. That’s a great thing to have. It’s hard to always have to work on every holiday. I have to work hard at not resenting that. In our church it seems that people forget that we are here alone and away from family. A dinner invitation would be nice occasionally. Or I should get off my but and organize things for other people who are here alone – but sometimes I get to busy feeling sorry for myself to think about it.
    And my little angel goes up every week for prayer before kids church and drinks the water out of the pastors’ water cup. Leading one of us to replace it before he goes up to preach. It seems to bug people and I can think is that maybe he just needs to stop putting his cup on the stage if he doesn’t want little kids playing in it.

    • Oh Faith! How I do relate. It hasn’t been all peaches and cream throughout the years. We had one church that was especially disapproving of everything we did, and we stayed for nine years! We were that slow. LOL! It’s too bad that your church doesn’t see the humor in that situation. I think you should just put two cups up there to start with and see what happens. Or give all the kids a little disposable drink to start the kid’s time.

      We have lately (the last 2 or so years) had a lot of the older gen move out (which presents some problems) because they can’t stay in this town (no supports) and have to go to the city. At the same time, we’ve had several young and new christian families come in, who have loud kids…even louder than mine. We’ve become a church that has become accostomed to a bit of chaos. I think it bugs the older crowd at the same time as making them chuckle. I’ve learned a long time ago, that it doesn’t matter what crotchety people think because they will be critical no matter what. I respect their opinions but I don’t live by them.

      Also, on those holidays, when we have no plans I either embrace my little family and the traditions we create with them or invite those with no family over. It’s been fun either way. Before we had kids it was so very hard. I would also look around to see if there are any in the congregation or community who are “empty nesters” or never had kids or single. Usually they are the ones that have as hard a time as we do. I found, up in Sexsmith, family or community is what you make it. It’s hard though when you are new to a community. I find it takes about 3-5 years to establish relationships. I’m not trying to depress you just encourage you that it will come.

      • Also, Sexsmith was unusually awesome at making community and including newcomers. It was a very quick place to make friends. I have not had that experience since.

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