Back in the 1980s, the service at the Methodist church started at 10:30 p.m., and ended about midnight; when I went home, it was almost always snowing lightly. The service at my current church begins much earlier, but there’s a certain familiarity about the celebration, though the forecast this year is that the daytime temperatures will be in the 50s F (low teens C).
What I started thinking about was what did I do in the decade before I returned to the church. At least one year in the 1970s, I went to some random Roman Catholic church. Another year, I went with my then-girlfriend to her mother’s home near New York City; by New Year’s Eve, we had broken up.
Probably went out to eat with my girlfriend in the late 1970s, but what the heck did I do in 1980, after we had broken up earlier that month?
One Christmas, probably 1975, I lived in this coffeehouse in New Paltz, but, like the dorms, we had to vacate it during the winter break. I hitchhiked down to New York City, and spent a week with my great aunt Charlotte. Surely we did NOT go to church – that wasn’t her thing – but we had a good time visiting cultural events that week.
Still, a couple years, I’m drawing a complete blank.
This is to say that I LIKE the tradition of going to church on Christmas eve. It’s not just theologically significant. It creates a sense of tradition when I feign not having one.
1966 CBS holiday messaage, which I well remember.
Several versions of 12 Days of Christmas; the first one is my favorite.
Listening While Feminist: In Defense of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.