Saturday, December 25

The Blessings of Wonder

It is Christmas Morning, but of course you know that. Unless you live ten miles up a box canyon deep in the Wasatch Range with only your dog Boomer and are demented from drinking bad water, you are inhaling Christmas morning air and "Joy to the World" is stuck in your head like a five-inch nail.

On Christmas Eve the Church was packed for the 3:00 service, the 4:30 and 6:00 candle light services were beautiful. Slient night drift through the rafters. I left the church and listened to NPR share the Christmas music of Olde England while I drove to Old Navey and bought a new pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. For myself.

I know its Christmas and we are all to be selfless and giving, but with my daughter away I am indulging in simple acts of selfishness. For example if I feel like if I feel like having a mocha, I just step into a Starbucks and get one. A small one, no pastry, but it feels luxurious. Why mocha? How does it further God's work on earth? I don't know. I just like it.

I had planned to return to church for the 11:00pm communion service, but after driving around I found myself near an old Catholic church. I slipped in the back in time for Mass in Spanish. Mass in Spanish is pretty wonderful. It's like a big family reunion at which I know nobody and so nobody is mad at me. Nothing said in Spanish offends me doctrinally or any other way. I squeeze into the crowd, under the placid stone faces of saints, the sweet smell of burning wax and a hundred varieties of cologne, and feel the religious fervor, and tears come to my eyes, and I light a candle, say a wordless prayer, and out into the cold rain I go.

A woman gets a keener sense of the divine in a church that is not your own. Maybe Luther and Calvin and Jan Hus and all them were dead wrong and literacy is not the key nor an understanding of Scripture, and maybe the essence of Christmas is dumb childlike wonder and the more you think about it, the less you understand. Which makes me glad I am no smarter than I am. Let's go have Christmas lunch.


Brenda said...

What a beautiful post. I love how you slipped into a Spanish Mass. I have only been to one and half of it was in Spanish and half in English. The dancing and traditions were so different from what I am used to...but I was in awe of it all. The love amongst the parishioners was heartwarming. I love visiting other churches. Mostly for the architecture and history, but also because I am unknown to them. I feel like I am on vacation or something. Merry Christmas!

The Bug said...

Lovely! I just read this to Dr. M & my dad & my dad said, "you can't logic faith."

Jo said...

How absolutely beautiful...!

I once went to an Easter mass in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The service was in French and there were several priests, and the church was filled with people. At that moment, I felt closer to God than I had ever felt.