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Today I’m working like mad on Christmas presents.  In a little while, I’ll put down my needle to head over to the Family Homestead.  A combination of factors, including a surprise visit from my landlord to work on our plumbing, damp rugs from cleaning, and the lack of lemon oil (now remedied), I wasn’t able to help much with the traditional Family Cleaning Day.  Since I also needed to go do some grocery shopping for Christmas Eve, I made a deal with my siblings that for my share of the work I would come back later to polish all the furniture.  I don’t mind that – I’ve always rather liked watching wood come to life under my polishing cloth.  So I figured this was a good bargain.

Although there are many presents left to make (and every year I’m grateful for my family’s tradition of giving presents during the Christmas season instead of on Christmas Day), there are some presents I’ve already been able to give.  The slideshow above shows the felt Christmas ornaments I embroidered to give to a few special friends at work: the ED tech who walks down to the cafeteria with me to get breakfast three mornings a week, the nurse educator who gave me a Darth Vader M&M dispenser as an office warming gift, the chaplain who does so much good so quietly.  I’m very pleased with how they turned out, so I thought I’d share a few pictures with you.

I am not sure if I will have time to blog tomorrow.  It’s going to be a very full day.  We will be meeting in the morning at the Family Homestead to do as much decorating as possible before 2pm, when we will stop to exchange Christmas stockings.  Yes, I know this flies in the face of all our family Christmas traditions, in which it’s not really Christmas until you come back from Christmas Eve Mass, and you don’t exchange a single present until after you’ve blown out the candle on Baby Jesus’s birthday cake Christmas morning.  But it seems that this is the only way we’ll get to do Christmas stockings with Fleur and Sweet Pea, so I guess that’s what we’ll have to do.  Anyway, we’re doing stockings, and then Children’s Mass, and then back to the Homestead for dinner (pot roast, cheesy potatoes, etc.).

Even though I’ll be going to the Children’s Mass with the family, I miss going to Midnight Mass.  There’s a solemnity, and expectation to it that is different from the church full of families with small restless children.  And then, my parish (St. Anthony’s) has Midnight Mass actually at midnight.  No starting at 10 or 11pm for them!  No, they do it the old school way, and I love it.  I’ve been wanting to go for years, but for some reason the rest of my family wouldn’t go for it.  However, since I’ll be done with our family celebration so early this year, and I’m good with going to Mass twice in one day, Pippi and I are going to meet at St. A’s for Midnight Mass.  I’m so excited.

Actually, going to Mass multiple times over Christmas is a very, very old tradition, dating back over a thousand years (parts of the tradition can be dated as far back as the 5th century or earlier).  Traditionally you celebrated Midnight Mass, Dawn Mass, and Mass during Christmas Day.  Midnight Mass was called the Angel Mass, since it especially celebrated the angels singing in the sky over Bethlehem to announce the birth of Jesus.  The Dawn Mass was the Shepherd’s Mass, since they were the first to come to adore the newborn Savior, and Mass during the day was called The Mass of The Divine Word, since Jesus is the Word made flesh.  So even though the Children’s Mass, doesn’t really count towards the tradition, I feel like I’m taking part in something very, very old and beautiful.

Merry Christmas!