"It is finished."
That's what I said to myself this morning at 8:15, after the last present was unwrapped.
So I'm back in bed, where I belong. Because last night I turned off the light at 3:30.
THREE FUCKING THIRTY ACK EMMA, people.
But I figured out something, and in the spirit of Christmas, I'm giving it out freely.
This is it:
All the people who like to get all pissed off and huffy about the secularization and increasing commercialization of Christmas need to join a choir, preferably a cathedral choir. And to make it perfect, those people should live in a suburb outside of the city in which the cathedral is located.
Because, honestly, when you spend five hours in church on the last Sunday in Advent, and then the very next day, which is Christmas Eve, get to church at 7:00 p.m. and leave at 1:00--having sat through two masses complete with two different and lengthy sermons, and sung a midnight mass setting by Charpentier, motets by Byrd and Palestrina, anthems by Rutter, carol arrangements by David Willcocks complete with his trademark soaring soprano descants, when the strings and recorders have accompanied the hymns, when there have been carols by candlelight and incense swung all over the place, and then have to drive for 45 minutes to get home, and then stuff stockings?
You find that you don't resent the secular aspects of Christmas at all. Personally, after sitting through two literal Christ-masses, I find the brightly lit store fronts, the decorated houses, the Christmas trees, the mistletoe and holly, the roast beef and plum pudding, the bulging stockings, the litter of wrapping paper and ribbon and candy canes and general ho-ho-ho-iness of it all pretty damned wonderful.
In fact, want to have a winter solstice celebration instead? Or do Festivus? Fine! Great! Enjoy.
There's definitely something to be said for the secular. I mean, for one thing, if something strikes me as funny, now that I'm in my house, I get to laugh. This is frowned upon in church.*
So having spent 12 of the past 48 hours in church, being stuffed to the gills with holiness, I will now embark upon a couple of days of pagan celebrations.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
* For example, last night at Midnight Mass, the second one of the evening, the choir was asked to stay in the gallery and not file out, kneel at the altar, receive the elements, and file back. I guess they were trying to be efficient. We were told a couple of priests would bring the elements to us. So I sat there waiting, but when the priests came up with the elements, I was hemmed in by the string players. The priests didn't see me trying to get up, so they left without giving me communion. I turned around to the tenors behind me and said "Oh, FINE. Now I'll go to hell when I die." And one of the tenors said "Poppy--you don't get to have seconds of Jesus."