Paul's dressed up. He will shine and bring out the best of the musicians. He has prepared the details and internally he may sweat tonight. But the people - they will see the majesty and the glory of the season. They will revel in the singing of carols and the magic of candlelight.
Eliana is princess-like. She will look grown up in her purple plaid taffeta and will stand tall as the handbells chime and she joins with the children to sing. She has rehearsed toward this night and she might feel a smidgen of anxiety. But the parents - they will listen with pride and gladness. They will alight with the joy their children are singing of Christmas.
But not me. I won't witness those triumphs.
I am here with a sick child. One who awoke late last night to a belly upset but no temperature. One who lay on a sheet and carpet in the living room so he could be close to us.
And while I am disappointed that I will not share in the annual splendor of this event, I also am honored to have an important job of my own on this night.
There will be no pomp or circumstance here. No lovely taffeta gowns or ringing bells. I will sit with my children (one sick and one young) and I will be mother. There will be a soft glow of light, not from candles, but from the lights of our tree. If carols are heard, it will be thanks to a CD player. I will not be angry at what I missed...for here I will find my own melodies. My heart song tonight will be one of peace offered to a sick child. One of joy offered through contented acceptance. One of love for a family who, while separate in duties tonight, are knit together by the One who is love.
I have a sick child but I have never felt better.