Guest Author #9
I remember the hustle and bustle of dressing up in my finest before the mad dash to grab one of the last parking spots in the church for Midnight Mass. How early did people arrive to get a seat, I would wonder, as the clock just struck half past eleven. Still thirty more minutes before the service and the place was packed to the rafters.
Growing up Catholic in a predominantly French-speaking part of town (even though I was of Hungarian/Ukrainian background), meant that the Midnight Mass service was nearly two hours long, interspersed with Latin, French and English verses. I got by with my rudimentary French from high school and would mouth out the words slowly and deliberately to the hymns.
It would be so stuffy in the pews with the smell of alcohol and strong perfume, along with mothball scented fur coats way past their prime - that often left me nauseous and looking for a quick escape route, only to be brought back to my senses when it was time to kneel and pray for forgiveness. I always prayed that I wouldn't faint before I got up to accept the host and repent my sins.
After the long procession of yet more "Hallelujahs", everyone would forget whether they were supposed to stand or kneel or make the sign of the cross, that I would give a scowl or two to those that appeared to make a mockery of one of the most sacred nights of the year. This was the event that I had waited for, the booming voices of the well-tuned choir belting out "Silent Night, Holy Night" and someone off key always shouting louder than the choir.
I remember the hairs on my arms standing straight up when an Angelic voice would ring out in time with the chimes rung by the alter boys. Everyone would go silent to let the Priest dismiss the congregation and I could almost feel the spirit of a higher power brushing by each and every one of us. "Merry Christmas", "Peace be with you" we would shout in unison to all as we squeezed into our lines to depart. The parking lot was a chaotic mess of tangled red and gold lights blinking in turn as we snaked our way to the road. The neighbouring streets were alive with lights that shone brighter than before, and I would always gaze into the sky looking for that one special guiding star to lead me home.
Once home, it was time to put the last minute presents underneath the tree. I would stay up longer than anyone else just to soak in the silence of Christmas Eve. "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring..." would play in my head.
This year, I cannot bring myself to go to church. If I do, I would cry my eyes out at the thought that my Dad is no longer with us, and my almost 90 year old Mom is too frail to stay up that late. I know she misses the excitement I often felt, and also - my Dad. I will watch Midnight Mass services on the television, gaze at the golden stars that have often guided my faith and fill the stockings with trinkets for my daughters and husband.
Christmas morning I will wake up early and pour myself a cup of coffee to sit in solitude, and watch the birds feast on the food that I have hung up for them. And I will ask them, "where are you Christmas?" and wait for a reply.
This is an invitation for anyone and everyone to post a entry of their own on my journal, Vagabond Journeys http://vagabondjourneys.blogspot.com/.
The end of the year holidays are soon upon us and since it is a time for celebrations, remembrances, resolutions and plans for the future I know that people have a lot to say.
Not to take away from the postings on your journals, but to add to the joy of my own celebrations is why I invite you to write for mine.
I want to read what your thoughts are about this magical time of the year. This invitation is open to everyone: Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists and the Uncertain.
Tell me your thoughts on Chanukah, Christmas, Ashura, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice, New Years Eve. or any subject you wish or associate with this holiday season.
There are no limits in regard to length. The only limitation is that, for reasons so far unexplained to me, my blog does not take photographs, animations, videos or pictures of any kind. I deal in words.
Please accept my invitation. Send your entry to my email address firstname.lastname@example.org I will copy and paste it into my journal and it will be displayed promptly. You may sign your name or not as you wish, and you may leave a link to your blog or your email or not, as you wish. I will do NO editing or censoring. Eloquence is not necessary, mind or heart or both is all.
I have 9 Guest Authors so far. Check them out. Can i hear from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America? All are welcome. Admission is free.