28 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Happy Christmas!

I am now hailing from the East coast and will be here until mid January (the majority of break between semesters). I love it here: the cities are plentiful, the scenery is gorgeous and my boyfriend, C, lives here.

I got in in Saturday after a few flight delays just in time to prepare for Christmas. The 23rd was spent baking, one of my favorite activities. We left Connecticut late Christmas Eve and stopped in Manhattan for midnight Mass (my first) at Holy Innocents, mere blocks from Times Square. It was a sung Latin Mass, which I'd never gone to before. I was so antsy to get to the parish in time, the fact that it was finally Christmas didn't hit me until we knelt. All of the anticipation over Advent bubbled over as excitement. The Mass was beautiful, the sermon thought-provoking and the Latin easier to follow after attending Latin Mass on Tuesdays at school. I also got to wear a mantilla for the first time, which made me feel pretty fancy. :)

After, we continued our route to Philadelphia, woke up the next day and went to Mass again (Latin again), this time at St. Paul's. If there's any day to go to Mass more than once, it's Christmas Day, I should think. It was likewise beautiful, decorated abundantly with flowers, and more familiar, since I'd been there once before. By this point, the day began to really feel like Christmas. Christmas is like your birthday sometimes (well, it is a birthday), in that nothing usually feels different in the morning and it's only after half a dozen "Happy birthday" wishes that you can accept that maybe you're a year older now.

Following Mass, we went to two cemeteries (all Christian-like) to visit some of my boyfriend's relatives. Most of the graves were nicely decorated with Christmas wreaths and flowers from other visitors. I also saw a lot of angel, Mary and Jesus statues, which I thought was pretty neat. Likely expensive, but neat nonetheless. I'd never given much thought to what I'd prefer for my own grave, but an angel or the BVM would be nice.

Christmas dinner at an Aunt's in Delaware followed. As I usually spend most of my time there, so it was good seeing them again and getting to be festive with others. By the time dinner and dessert were over, it was near 10.00, so we headed back up to Philadelphia. There, C and I exchanged gifts: Pope Benedict's three-volume Jesus of Nazareth set for him and a very nice Marian book of daily prayers and a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card for me. I'm looking forward to utilizing both of them. :)

All in all, it was a very good Christmas Day. I'm still trying to figure out how to celebrate the remaining days of Christmas. Let me know your traditions in the comments!

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