Saturday, December 24, 2005

Saturday is Pet Peeves

Everyone should have a few fingernails-across-the-blackboard shudders. Things they just can't stand.

By now, surely people are standing three deep to yell that they hate the Christmas that starts before Thanksgiving -- heck, the Christmas that now starts before Hallowe'en and leaves you 15 minutes space to find some Thanksgiving decorations for the table.

Come to think of it, there are actually Christmas stores devoted to nothing but harrowingly cute little figurines and reeking of some fake pine forest smell. Oh, my soul...hell for me will be eternal life in a Christmas tree store with little elves dressed like devils who make me look at garish trees with hideous ornaments and poke me with acrylic six pointed stars if I glance away for a moment.

Then there is the horrendous cacaphony of blaring "seasonal" music. Surely there ought to be a place where people who can shoot straight can line up and take a shot at the speaker of their choice. You might have to be certified or something, but think of the pleasure your "ready-aim-fire" execution of noxious noise would bring to the rest of us. Consider for a blessed moment the godly silence which would ensue. Ah, heaven. A mall with just the waving murmur of people, the sounds of children, the movement and sway of ordinary sound...except for the mall part, that is surely heaven?

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That is enough peevishness. It is, after all, Christmas Eve.

Tonight, the Baron's Boy will be playing the organ at church for carols before the Christmas Eve service. He's been doing it for years and now I see those years coming to an end. Soon there will be graduate school and other places. But for tonight, at least, we will have carols one more time. The Baron will light the candles in the windows of the church -- I do hope he hid them well last year.

Our church in the country doesn't do a midnight service. Everyone around here is asleep by ten o'clock except for the few desperate young parents trying to put bikes and trains together. So we have a service at 7:00, and briefly, cider and cookies before everyone scatters home.

Somehow it is good to worship at a church you know you will be buried from. It gives a continuity and perspective to the time, making a sacred space a temporal and fleeting moment...the church itself, the congregation, is old and dying out. We will have to go soon -- in the next year or two -- to town for services in a congregation headed by an authentic English vicar from the North of England.

But the graveyard here will remain. And eventually, my remains will return to this church, to be buried next to my mother, and I hope with the same Celtic designs on my headstone that the Baron did for her.

Imagine that: the two of us finally at rest and so far from home.


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