Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Magic

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's a wonderful day to celebrate. I do love Christmas. Not as much as I love Thanksgiving, but I enjoy today because Dori and the kids love it and because today is the day we receive the greatest gift of love.

Soon, my family will awake to presents under the tree and Dori's famous monkey bread for breakfast. Later, we'll enjoy beef stew, roasted brussel sprouts, yeast rolls and homemade fudge pie.

Last night in a packed church, we saw unfamiliar faces. Before Mass, Kathryn told me about certain people she sees in church only on Christmas and Easter. She's intrigued by the subject, like her Dad.

I'm happy people make it to celebrate Christmas and reflect, but I'm not sure many were doing much reflecting, at least around us. Before the service, the children's choir sang lovely songs and a violinist performed Silent Night. Rather than listen, most people around us talked. Most is not an understatement. During Mass, things didn't change much ... some people continued their irreverance. Each week, some Catholics bolt after communion to beat the traffic or rush to some event, I guess. Last night was no different. Dori and the kids noticed all of this, too, which we discussed on the way home.

I wonder about the magic of Christmas. Is it gone in America? Does warming a spot in the pew for 70 minutes constitute adequate homage to God? What is adequate? Some of you reading this are probably thinking, "Gosh, Jim, they made it to church on Christmas. Cut them some slack." Absolutely, yes, I am not anyone's judge. I'm just curious. Does mere attendance make whole the genuine appreciation we have for the gift of Christmas, or should we be bringing more? Is secularism the new religion, or am I being a Scrooge on Christmas morn?

I don't have answers here, just questions. But I can't be the only one ruminating like this today.


ChuckEastNashville said...

Jim, one time the "dine and dash" crowd (those leaving immediately after Communion) at Mass got so bad our priest distributed Communion while blocking door nearest parking lot. Those accustomed to leaving early had a visible mix of inconvenience and guilt.

Last night I spoke with an Episcopalian friend whose Christmas Eve Mass had same twice-a-year full house. Front rows were occupied by people she did not see 50 weeks out of the year. Hey, these people made the effort--dress up, grab the front row seat, make sure everyone sees you. As we know you get out of Mass what you put into it, be that much or little. We will see them again at Easter.

Finally, the chatter and irreverence bother me too. Go to Cathedral 5:30 Mass and the silence is wonderful. For the most part practicing Catholics know how to act at Mass. Those who darken the doors twice a year, well, you can recognize them too.

Church is a good place for anyone to go. Come on back, folks. We are open 52 weekends a year, plus a few extra Holy Days of Obligation. Catholics celebrate Sacraments. Partake of those (read: Reconciliation/Confession).

Jim said...

Thanks, Chuck. An interesting topic for us churchgoers. Hope your running is going well and you have an injury-free 2009.