Thursday, September 12, 2013

One Up on St. Nicholas Featured

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I do believe that every person has some inner desire to always be ahead of the game. For most of us, "flying by the seat of our pants" has become a most common and accepted practice. I can publicly state that I am quite at peace with flying this way. Once you have experienced it a few times the stress seems to dissipate. However, as much as I can state that I am at peace with it, I am as public in saying that I don't like it. I much prefer to be organized in such a way that I am one step ahead of the rest.

Maybe it was that inner longing that got me in the mood, or the spirit, to organize the Christmas Eve Masses and in particular, the Midnight Mass. I have to admit that for a few years I waned in my appreciation of the Midnight Mass. Most of this was because there were so many Masses to celebrate on the Eve of Christmas that I simply did not have the energy for an elaborate Midnight celebration. The last few years have changed my way of thinking and I have uncovered a new found appreciation of that Mass offered at Midnight. I don't have to worry about energy levels as the Bishop has presided the prior years and will preside again this year. Previous efforts at the Cathedral Midnight Mass have left me with an incredible sense of joy and wonder - being able to share musical talents with folks who have become great friends and fellow disciples.

It could be that I am getting older that is the reason for the new found interest. If it is age then I am okay with that. I am quite enjoying growing up (and out). Or maybe, and possibly the real reason, is that I am now spiritually mature enough to finally figure out the real reason for this great event. After almost 50 years of living I can clearly see that Christmas is not about the accumulation of gifts (although all are welcomed and appreciated), the competition to see how busy we can make December or the efforts of cooking a 40 pound turkey (been there and done that). Christmas is about having the opportunity to be a vessel by which someone else can have an experience of God's unfathomable love. It is about looking at the little child in the manger and recognizing He needs us. It is about free-flowing tears that fall as we remember our loved ones who now celebrate an eternal Christmas. It is about the joy on the face of a young child as they see the lights on an 18 foot tree.

It is coming to know that we are not called to "own" Christmas but rather to "share" Christmas.

And that is precisely why, as I write this, a huge pile of music for the Midnight Mass sits beside my computer. The hymns have all been chosen.

The pre-Mass vigil has been arranged and the Bishop even has his homily put together. It is not that I need to be one up on St. Nicholas. It's just that there is nothing greater than being able to use our gifts and talents to make someone's Christmas come alive and allow them to encounter the tiny child in their own way. I'm already excited about such an encounter. And I know that someone else is just as excited about celebrating His birthday with us.


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