I used to go to Midnight Mass every Christmas with my grandfather and I really wanted to revive that tradition within my own family. So one year I announced that the entire family would be attending Midnight Mass at Christmas together.
First of all I had to counter my husband’s excuses by agreeing that we would attend a Christmas Eve service at 7pm rather than at midnight, and then I offered the ultimate family bribery: dinner at MacDonald’s beforehand.
The family weren’t overly enthusiastic but they did agree eventually so off we trooped to Christmas Mass. The church was packed with people and so incredibly hot that the church doors were left open to the garden beyond in the vain hope of getting some air to circulate.
My daughter, who was 13 at the time, was going through her hippie stage. She positioned herself lotus-style outside, and proceeded to chant her version of a Buddhist mantra, as a protest as being forced to attend church.
My 3-year-old son was terribly excited, and ran around exclaiming loudly at the nativity scene and the decorations. And then he noticed the candles… After demanding to know whose birthday it was, he proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” at the top of his voice, non-stop.
My husband sat there laughing helplessly, with tears running down his face. I hurriedly gathered up my disorderly brood and departed, vowing to try again another year… But, perhaps at another church, where they didn’t know us.