Sunday, December 21, 2008
Let It Snow!
One of the perks of being a nun, besides being married to Jesus, is that I virtually never have to negotiate what I'm going to do or not going to do on any given holiday. We've worked out who does what and when here at the house. I don't have to worry about who to have dinner with or at whose house I will show up to watch the little darlings look pretty in their Christmas finery and open their gifts. I will be at the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the ten o'clock mass on Christmas morning. Here at the house, we have some 'homeless' people coming for dinner. Sister St. Aloysisus is going to make Bavarian Pot Roast, which is actually my mother's recipe. We have to remember to buy a can of beer. It's one of the ingredients. During the afternoon we'll be spending time with some actual homeless people. We'll put Baby Jesus in the manger, the lights will be on.
Other people are not so lucky.
Sister - Since you brought up Christmas rules....how about attending Mass on Christmas? This year we are spending the holidays with my in-laws, who are staunch Lutherans. My husband & I feel it is important to do things as a family, so we attend the Christmas Eve service with Grandma & Grandpa at their Lutheran church. Since this si a huge retirement community, Grandma loves being able to show off her beautiful, well behaved granddaughters in their cute holiday dresses, especially since their local grandchildren are non-church attending white trailer trash. Unfortunately, the Lutheran service is held EXACTLY at the same time as Mass at the only Catholic church in the 3 county area. Every priest I ask gives me a different answer, but does watching Mass on TV with the Pope at midnight count towards our obligation? If not, do the children need to go to confession as well, since they have no means to get to Mass without me?
You have to attend Mass on Christmas. Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation. It's not a Holy Day of Try to Get There. It's not a Holy Day of Compromise.
It's all very well and good that these people are staunch Lutherans, bless their misguided souls, but it's time for you to step up and be a staunch Catholic.
Is going to church services on Christmas Day a Holy Day of Obligation for the Lutherans? I think not.
Just for a moment, let's pretend that Christmas Day is not a holy day of OBLIGATION, but just good old Christmas day. What is Christmas Day, exactly? It is the birthday of Jesus. It's most definitely not the actual birthday of Jesus. Jesus was probably born in the spring, hence the shepards out with their flocks at night. And that census....why would anyone have a census in the dead of winter and make everybody trudge off to their home town on foot at the end of December? That would be crazy.
It is the day we picked to celebrate Jesus' birthday because it is the time of year that the days get longer again. The Light has come back to the world. Get it? (That's what all the lights and the candles are supposed to get across to you.)
You don't want to miss Jesus' birthday party, do you? Heavens to Betsy! Jesus is going to be there, in the Flesh.
I'm sorry to blow up your family on Christmas with this bad news, but the Pope on TV doesn't count. The Mass for shut-ins only counts if you are actually shut in. You could pray for a blizzard, I suppose.
Here's how I would resolve the problem were I in your shoes instead of my big nun clod hoppers. I would actually go to the Lutheran service with the in-laws. I don't like to upset old people, especially old people who are in the process of showing off their grandchildren. It's good for the grandparents AND it's good for the children who are being shown off.
Then I would find that Mass in that fourth county and pack up grandma and grandpa and the kids and go show everybody off over there. Tell everyone you have a birthday part to get to, attendance manditory. If it cuts into the present unwrapping and such, you can do it the day before or the day after and just extend the merriment.
Short of that, I would be looking for other venues for grandma and grandpa to show off the children. A small parade? Maybe the Lutherans have another service they can attend, since you don't.
No Masses on Christmas Day in a three county area? What's up with that? I would also be raising a stink about that. Some birthday for Jesus that's going to be.
Leave it to the Lutherans to gum up Christmas for you. Thanks, again, Martin Luther!