I recently finished directing Miracle on 34th Street at our local community theater. So for the past two months, I have lived and breathed that story. It is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the characters and the story. Living that story every night for weeks reminded me of a special moment a couple of Christmases back.
It was our first year as a new family. I was struggling a bit. We didn’t feel like a “real family.” We were struggling to blend holiday traditions, to accept our new roles, to find our way. As a second wife and stepmom, I often felt second best. Would we ever figure it out? Would we ever be a “real family?”
About a week before Christmas we had our own Miracle on 34th Street moment. The First Baptist Church called to see if our family would light the advent candle at the Christmas Eve service. I know it is silly; I know it shouldn’t have mattered, but somehow I felt as if the church itself was recognizing our crazy/broken/put-back-together/blended family as a real and authentic family. If we were good enough to walk up in front of the church for the Christmas Eve service, then surely folks would accept us as a “real family.”
It may not have meant anything. I suppose it is possible that everyone else had turned them down, but for me it was an important moment. Since that day, every time I feel that someone is judging us for having children of divorce or for being remarried, I stop and remember that FBC thought we were worthy of lighting the Jesus candle on Christmas Eve, and I cease to care what other people think.