I have been thinking about going to Midnight Mass this year. I haven't been in years and years, ever since my parents moved out to the retirement community in 1978. We lived just down the hill from our church -- all we had to do was walk out the back door, cross the neighbor's yard, and traipse through the cemetery to get there.
Every Christmas we'd all go to Midnight Mass, and then my folks would host a big breakfast afterward. Pop would cook bacon and scrambled eggs; Mom would bake crescent rolls and perk coffee. The grownups had Bloody Marys and the kids had OJ. Family and neighbors would come over and the revelry would go on until two or three in the morning. When we were little, we got shooed off to bed so the grownups could put the presents under the tree.
Once Mom and Pop moved, the party shifted to earlier in the evening and it's been that way ever since. Now my younger sister hosts the party on Christmas Eve. It's always wonderful and fun and I'm looking forward to it as I always do.
But there's something about Midnight Mass -- the dark windows, the cool church, the reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew -- that pulls me toward it. Maybe this year I'll follow that pull.
Or maybe I'll get home from my sister's house and hit the sack.
I'll let you know.