For the first time in many years, I’m feeling some genuine excitement and anticipation about Christmas!
I don’t mean that I haven’t felt that excitement and anticipation at all; but this year is so different just because we did not put up the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving day or the day after! That is because our daughter has moved out on her own, and she was the main impetus for setting up the tree. I just have always seemed to be powerless to say “no” to her on that point (and many others, much to my chagrin. But she seems to be turning out okay anyway).
So, the tree is still not up, and I am actually looking forward to that little project! This is in contrast to most years, when I have not enjoyed doing it because we were doing it so early.
On a more spiritual level, there’s that little “Christmas novena” which is more than a novena. It starts on the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30) and continues through Christmas Eve. It’s the one where you are to say 15 times per day:
Hail, and blessed by the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure virgin, in a stable in Bethlehem, at midnight, in the piercing cold. At that hour, vouchsafe I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires.
I did this last year, too. I am not good at keeping count, though; I just say the prayer at the beginning and end of each of the hours of the Divine Office, and at other times if the thought comes to me. The idea, I am sure, is simply to keep the thought of this incredible meaning of the feast in our minds. And saying the prayer all through the day certainly does that.
For me, it’s not about the particular intention I have for the prayer, though I do form an intention. Rather, it’s about the Nativity of Our Lord…of course! Saying the prayer builds anticipation in me; it makes me think about that Holy Night in a new way, somehow. I thought I might not say the novena this year, but then I remembered how much it affected me last year. And this year has been even more special, largely due to the timing of the setting up of the Christmas tree!
So I am anticipating. And I was so looking forward to the Midnight Mass of Christmas. But alas…apparently there is no Midnight Mass scheduled at my parish this year. I am very sad and disappointed about that. But never mind! I will offer it up, and my prayers for the Office of vigils will be extra special.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.