I know that this may sound more like the Festivus tradition of the Airing of the Grievances than Christmas…But if you want proof that this War on Christmas is made up, just try to get a seat at Midnight Mass at my church.
And I think of it as my church, because we go every week, being one of those families that was brought up to believe that if you missed Mass you could go to hell – unless you had an excellent excuse, like you got run over by an articulated bus on the way to Mass.
But we won’t be going to midnight mass tonight, because it will be packed with Christmas Catholics. You’d think with all this War on Christmas talk, the place would be deserted. But in fact it will start filling up two hours before Mass, and there are no special privileges for the regulars like us – no priority boarding, no extra legroom, the last will be first, the first will be last and all that.
It’s a stunning celebration – two organists, pulling out all the stops on both organs, a brass section, violins, tympani, a full choir, a long a procession with lanterns and bells, and an electric star that slowly descends from the ceiling.
But we regulars – we feel a little like the Macklemore fans who were with him from the beginning, and now have to sit way up behind the retired basketball jerseys.
One Christmas Eve – I spent three hours sitting on my blown-up camp cushion on the floor, underneath the Virgin Mary’s right foot.
So this year, we will sacrifice by cheerfully giving up our spot and going to a less spectacular Mass.
I’ll be sorry to miss it, but we’ll be back Sunday. And Mary should appreciate the extra leg room. At least for the right leg.