I have lots of New Year’s Eve memories.
Many over recent years have been non-eventful, since I knew that even if I fell asleep at 8:30 or 11:59 the New Year would still roll around. Other memories are of pure and crazy fun, and others (pre-conversion) I can’t (and would rather not) remember.
As for New Year’s Day memories? Most I don’t remember at all, except for those few (pre-conversion) where I wanted to die of “intentionally caused morning sickness.” Most I would say have a general pleasant memory of “new beginnings”, “a fun new number to get used to”, “a day off for picnics (indoor in Colorado) and games”…
Not so with yesterday. January 1st, 2013.
In rare recent form, we all stayed up and rung in the new year with those little fake firework thingies (party poppers). We watched movies, played some games, hung out, ate junk food… but with one major mistake. Hubby and I were checking out the news on and off throughout the night. The “Fiscal Cliff”. Hillary “not able to testify”. The body of the Connecticut shooter claimed. More people dead. More children missing. Obama laughing at the tax increases. Yada yada.
And then the kids excitedly asked us to tell them all about the Titanic because they were watching a history show about it. So we started explaining…
Pass the bottle anyone?
So we passed around the root beer and talked about icebergs and people freezing to death in tragic waters and next thing you know we were counting down… 3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!
We all collapsed into bed at some hour and when we finally woke up the next morning, we remembered that we were supposed to go to Mass. January 1st, Feast of the Mother of God, is a “holy day of obligation.”
Now I’m going to say right here something about this particular day of obligation has always bothered me. Since I can remember. I mean, did the church forget that maybe SOMEone might POSSIBLY stay up ’til, I don’t know, later than usual the night before? Who came up with this? Did some monk somewhere snicker and think, “HA! That’ll teach ya to enjoy your day off and regret that you didn’t sleep the night before! Ha ha!! Or else! Ha ha!”
Oh, I’m not talking about the Mass. I’m talking about the Mass TIME. Inevitably, it’s like 8:00 in the morning, which is too early for our family if we had slept the whole day before. Or they change the Mass times, no matter what, to EARLIER. Sure, you can go to the “vigil”… and skip your new Year’s Eve party. My question is, WHY ISN’T MASS AT NOON OR LATER???? We would all be rested up with a nice big breakfast and a whole pot of coffee in us, and we might be joyful that we are there, and even bring along our hung over friends to go to confession afterwards. But noooooooo….
So that was my attitude yesterday. Rotten. I was grumbling as I attempted to do my hair and then gave up. I was grumbling as I got the little kids dressed (who were bright and happy, by the way, because THEY got sleep). I was grumbling at my grumbling stomach on the way to Mass. I was trying to be chipper with the kids, but when they whined “whyyyyyyy didn’t we get to eeeeeat???” (because we didn’t have time), I didn’t even have an answer. Because inside I was thinking, I don’t know kids, I don’t know. Seems ridiculous to me too.
My attitude carried on through Mass. I barely even heard the Gospel readings. I cuddled the baby. I thought about my stomach. I was waiting for the thing to be over. I got in the communion line.
The little choir was singing a song I had heard a million times before. “Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to Me and never be hungry…”
I was almost to the altar, when all of sudden, all of the problems in the world, all of the news items we had read the night before, all of the turmoil, the distress, the fears of the New Year and where we as a country were headed, where we as a family were headed… they closed in like a tunnel in on me. I gasped. Would we survive the fiscal cliff? Would everything crash? Would…
“…come to Me and never be hungry…”
The truth of what was being sung, and Who I was receiving, dissipated my fears just as suddenly as they had come. Every last one of them. All we need is Christ. I could feel Him smiling at me (He has this smile where he shakes His head at my stubbornness) and I wanted to collapse in a heap of tears. I forget about Him so easily. I lose hope so easily. I am so distracted. But He is always there, giving me a gentle 2 X 4 that He is in charge and all is well.
I made it back to my seat, and I sat there, stunned. I realized it is His sense of humor and His love that calls us to worship Him on the first day of the year, and even better, to say “Give some respect to my mama, y’all.” Yeah, get up. Wake up, people. Sure, you’re tired. Sure, it doesn’t make sense if you consider comfort and pleasure as your God. I believe He wants it to sting a little, like waking up just a tad too early in a tad too cold room. He wants us to remember that He is the First, the Almighty, the Priority. That He is the Solution.
That we have NOTHING to fear.
And that the real partying begins in Heaven. (Can you imagine?)
Wishing you and yours a blessed and prosperous New Year!