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.