Christmas Eve with the Popkins

Our Christmas Eve service of choice has always been the Midnight service, even prior to having children. All three of our children from infancy to adulthood have staked out almost a full pew in the balcony each and every Christmas Eve. This has been one of the most precious memories we’ve had as parents. Each child would dress in their new warm Christmas pajamas. They would sleepily stumble in with their favorite stuffed animals in tow and a well-loved blanket. The deal we made with them was that they could stay up as late as they wished, as long as they attended midnight service. It started as a great deal! When younger they were asleep before getting home from church. As they aged the deal got increasingly harder on us. A night-long round of board games that ended as the sun rose was not uncommon.

The go-to game was called Axis and Allies, super complicated and tediously long. Starting right after church, each of us would choose a different country and play all night.

One year, around 0-dark-30 the young gentlemen decided to combine their forces and team up on dear old dad. Seeing the inevitable, he gave his unconditional surrender as the dawn broke.

That was the beginning of those young rapscallions teaming up on us, and they soon taught their baby sister how to leverage their collective forces.

Years later we all still head to the balcony every Christmas Eve and maybe, just maybe, we might even get some sleep before sunrise.

About the Contributors:

Kamran and Natalie Popkin have been members of First Presbyterian since 1996. Their children are Hunter (24), Jake (21), and Katie (17).