Friday, 24 December 2010

A Few Thoughts on Christmas

This is the second year I've been married at Christmas, and the first Christmas that I have been in charge of Family Christmas. This is definitely where a sense of vocation kicks in. For example, the kitchen drainpipe, whose oldest bits may be two hundred or so years old, is completely blocked by ice, which meant I spent an hour and a half this morning boiling water and washing the dirty dishes of six people in two plastic basins. This is what marriage and subsquent hosting of Christmas can mean.

Christmas is often tough on Single people because Christmas has been recently marketed as a Couple's Day, although why this is beats me, since the central couple of all my Christmases until last year was my parents. For me, Christmas has always been a Family Day, which is why I had a fit last year when the only family around was my poor husband.

Christmas, however, is not really a Family Day or a Couple's Day. It is the celebration of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Holy Name embarrasses advertisers everywhere. It's not about you; it's about HIM. The central event of Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day is not the food or the presents but the Mass or Masses. Keep the Mass in Christmas, that's what I say.

When you are at Mass, you will notice the absolutely crucial role of Singles. These Singles are called priests. Like other Single people, priests go home alone or with other Single people or (more rarely) with their families. They are too busy or holy to sit around feeling sorry for themselves. Besides, feeling sorry for yourself on Jesus's Birthday is not a good thing to do. It is classical sloth, and although I remember being hit with waves of it as a long-term Single, I generally tried not to encourage it in myself. And everybody go read the part of my book where I run away from my former (and non-Catholic) in-laws to get to Midnight Mass.

Priests and, I imagine, most married women, are incredibly busy and stressed on Christmas Day, so although I didn't realize this when I was Single, I now think it might be the Christmas job of non-ordained Singles to help priests and married ladies in any way needed, even if that is just staying out of the way or handing around tissues to the sneezing.

My father has just come into the sitting-room, and addressed my mother and me:

"Why aren't you guys cooking?" he asked.

He was joking, so we didn't kill him. However, I must go. But before I do anything else, I will put on another layer of skin cream because my poor scalded hands still feel dry and my thumbs are starting to flake.

Merry Christmas to all, and remember that Our Lord lived His earthly mission as THE most Seraphic Single of all.


Catholic Pen said...

Amen! Merry Christmas to you too!

dark but fair said...

Merry Christmas! God bless you and yours!

Kate P said...

A blessed & happy Christmas to you, Seraphic, and to B.A. and all your family!

Anonymous said...

Christmas is the best time to be an Auntie! There is nothing quite like helping your sisters/sisters-in-law with dressing little ones in Christmas outfits (and curling your nieces hair) for Christmas Mass–and later helping the parents drink baileys and fill stockings when the little ones go to sleep! The excitement of the (very tired) parents is just as beautiful to witness as the kids faces in the morning! It is amazing to see something that my own mother must have been for me, in my sisters! Too precious to even feel the slightest bit sad or lonely.

Merry Christmas!


theobromophile said...

Merry Christmas! :)

Christmas has never, ever been a Couples' Day to me; perhaps it's because I have little siblings, so it's always about them and their joy on Christmas. Perhaps it's because my big family always has other family over, or goes over to my family, so there's always at least a dozen people milling about and catching up.

The only day that is really a Couples' Day, IMHO, is Valentine's Day; for each couple, it is the anniversary of their marriage. Why on earth couples would need more than that for their very own special "look at us, we're a couple" day is absolutely beyond me.

(Or maybe I'm just flummoxed at the people who are up in arms at the idea that my boyfriend of five months isn't spending Christmas with me, but with his own family, 150 miles away.)

some guy on the street said...

I'm still playing with that phrase "second year I've been married at Christmas".

Of course, most of us reading here know much of the story, but it has plenty room in it to leave out the identity and continuity of that marriage... which amuses me greatly!

Merry Christmas, everyone.