Originally posted Dec. 26, 2007
Noah farted in church. Yes indeed, right in the middle of
the preacher's sermon during the Christmas Eve candlelight
service. The beautiful, curved oak pews, which 'til then I'd
admired and appreciated, served to amplify the effect.
Fabulous. We'd considered joining this congregation, but the
fart heard 'round the church made me wonder if we'd ever be invited
After I got over my shock I began shaking with pent-up
laughter. Noah's eyes, big as moons, slammed shut as he bent
over and tried not to erupt again - in a fit of
giggles. Holly and my husband Todd, tearing-up he was
laughing so hard, tried in vain to hold theirs in. Glancing
over my shoulder I saw that the guy behind me was laughing with us,
and across the aisle I caught a small smile from the lady sitting
there. Hmm. Not a reproachful glare in sight, it would
seem, and the Pastor, who, ironically, was sermonizing about the
organic vulnerability of humanity, and the fact that the Baby
Jesus' diapers were no doubt smelly too, didn't miss a beat.
All righty then! I suppose there is no better litmus test for
a church. Nobody even flinched when Noah farted. These
people are cool. Amazing Grace incarnate.
Apparently, this really is billed as a 'welcoming and affirming
church,' which means they actively accept anyone (even kids who
fart), a model I prize for our kids. They also involve kids
in service projects which help others, something I've been wanting
to share with my children. A child who learns how to give
knows that he matters to other people, and knows that he has the
ability to make a difference.
My favorite poem, "The work of Christmas," really captures these
Christmas begins when the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks.
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost, to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild nations,
to bring peace among people,
to make music in the heart.
As you make your resolutions, consider resolving to share during
the coming New Year, and instill a habit of sharing and peacemaking
in your children. This won't be hard. Kids are
naturally inclined to help others, and your gifts don't need to be
flashy. Simply bring them along on a visit to cheer an
elderly neighbor, or get your kids to help you clean out the
closets (making room for all of those fabulous holiday gifts!) and
make a run to the Goodwill. Have your children brainstorm for
someone to call (who might be house-bound), and offer to do their
grocery shopping the next time you go (kids love to run around the
store fetching things), or engage your kids in ambushing a busy or
tired friend with a treat of surprise shoveling after a
Another thought: so often our kids catch us advocating, in a
righteous tone perhaps, for better service, etc. Let them
catch you making someone's day, too. Kids are always watching
and imitating. Thank the guy who bags your groceries, and if
you notice a woman wearing a colorful blouse that really flatter
her eyes, just tell her, for Pete's sake!
Giving of yourself, and committing random acts of kindness without
the expectation of anything in return, just feels good. Not a
bad thing to learn when you're young.
No matter what you do, or the details of your particular faith
journey (even if you're not the fart-tolerant type), Happy
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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