Thursday, January 04, 2007


In what was (for me at least) a huge departure from tradition, we decorated the Christmas tree the day before Christmas Eve. More and more, the incursion of secular Christmas into the ecclesial season of Advent feels awkward to me, like I'm continually crossing some weird international date line. B101 is playing Christmas music, while I'm listening to the messianic passages from Isaiah on my iPod. As soon as Christmas arrives on my internal calendar, the Christmas music vanishes from the airwaves and Christmas trees appear at the curb, ready to be turned into mulch. Is it Christmas or not?

The short Advent season this year meant that the celebration of the 4th Sunday of Advent overlapped with the Vigil of Christmas, and I was responsible for proclaiming 3 different psalms at four Masses over three days. So, if the tree were going to be decorated, it was going to have to happen before the liturgical quadrille began. Barnacle Boy and Crash are now full participants in this hallowed event. The Boy enjoyed pulling ornaments and recalling the stories associated with each one. "Here is the one Aunt Barbara made for my first Christmas!" "Oh, Dad, this is your beautiful one from Vienna..." He enjoyed hearing the story of the foil bell which hangs from a black thread that you wrap around the branch. My mother made these for her first married Christmas. She and my dad were grad students, and expecting a baby in few months (me!), so funds for decorations were non-existent.

Chris pulled out an elaborate pink Victorian ornament and demanded its story from Victor. "I don't know that one. Ask your Mother..." Waving the ornament in my direction, I told him that was an ornament without a least until now.