It's the semi-annual discomfort with my family about church: which Christmas Mass to go to so we can fit it into the hectic to-ing and fro-ing, "how fast can we get it over with," "there won't be extra singing or INCENSE, will there?"
I have to take my mother with me to church on holidays, she's not very mobile any more, and she likes to come and stay over and spend Christmas Eve night together. And I'm glad to have her. But that invokes the Sacred Holiday Law of spending every moment glued together at the hip, as well as its Preamble: we do what the oldest person wants to do because they're going to die any minute and you'll feel bad.
If Mass lasts more than 45 minutes, she's rolling her eyes and nudging me. Get up early? Or get to church early? Heaven forbid we sing a few pre-Mass carols. To add to the mix, my brother and his family are Unitarians, so they have the day off, and want family time on their schedule. They smile knowingly at us serfs when we explain that we must go to church, which totally curdles my dwindling supply of the milk of human kindness.
This is driving me crazy. Everything I try to use to (quite frankly) manipulate the situation is going nowhere, and I am forced to be frank and honest. But what do I say?
"Christmas means more to me every year, and church is an important part of it."
"I love going to Mass, and Mass on Christmas is extra-special."
"Christmas is a celebration of the miracle of our Savior's birth, and I want to spend time rejoicing at church."
"There's a freakin' reason for the season, OKAY?"
I try them all over in my mind, and I've even murmured a few of them during the opening skirmishes, and they sound so LAME. Maybe it's because they're right out front about my faith, and I'm still a chicken around my family, because I spent so many years not caring, or not caring enough to assert my priorities.
Do you have a sure-fire statement that shuts'em up and gets them to cooperate?
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