Thomas is our younger son. He is severely autistic, has very little speech, and is on a very restricted diet. Now nearly 19 years old, he is too much for us to handle on a day-to-day basis and has been living in a group home with professional staff since June 2006. However, we see him nearly every week and bring him home for holidays.
We picked him up at his group home and went to the 4PM service at St. Mary’s. This is the family service, very child-friendly. Taking Tom to church is not good for my blood pressure. There is always the possibility that he will make a scene. In fact he was in fact quite excited at first but soon calmed down. I could see he was often focused on what was happening up front. I cannot imagine how he processes the church experience but he clearly gets something from it. That is one reason we keep bringing him.
He even stayed quiet during the sermon spoke directly to us. Leanne (the Rector), preached about how Jesus was a vulnerable baby. She held one of the youngest members of the parish as a visual aid :-)> She spoke of our duty to take care of the vulnerable among us. mia_mcdavid and I both looked at Tom, and then at each other. It was really good to hear this. We need these reminders that our struggles as parents have meaning.
EDIT: You can listen to the sermon: LeeAnne’s Christmas Pageant Sermon (mp3).