Is Christmas Eve Mass Kinda Lit?

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By: Fiona Shea

If you come from a long line of consistent churchgoers like I do, you might be a little too familiar with the special kind of abrupt wake up that only happens on Sunday mornings.


“Get up, we’re going to church.”


The words ring in your ears as you attempt to incorporate the command into your dream. No church, just sleepy. Right as you dip into the cloudy, hallucinogenic state after the initial wake-up, your Mom busts through the door with a, “We’re leaving in 10 minutes.”


Maybe you brush your teeth, maybe you don’t. Maybe you purposefully don’t in spite of your Mother making you go to church. When you come downstairs you can tell she isn’t fully pleased with your outfit, but, that’s just too bad. You’re already running late.


If you’re like me, you’ve never actually been on time to church to experience the commencement of a mass. Your family tends to roll in a few segments (?) late, but not late enough to feel like you didn’t go. Other regularly late families smile as you walk in. They understand the struggle of hustling an unenthused group of complainers.


Mass unfolds the way it usually does, no surprises really catching you off guard. Your focus moves in waves, from thinking about everything but church, to thinking about everything church. You notice the intricate details on the stained glass windows, you count how many people are in the pews, you wonder what type of wine they use for the blood of Christ. You might even go as far as to flip through every page of the hymn book just to pass some time. Just to see if anything wild is written in there.


Mass wraps up with lots of small talk and politeness. You remember you didn’t brush your teeth or eat breakfast or look in the mirror and feel kind of sad for yourself. Post-Mass becomes a hangry, self-pitying frenzy. You or a sibling obviously begs your Mom to go to Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home.


That might be the trajectory of a normal Sunday morning Mass. But Mass on Christmas Eve is far from normal. It might actually be… kinda lit.


The Crowd


Lots of people show out for church on Christmas Eve. People who don’t step foot in church, or even think about church all year roll into mass on Christmas. And you know what? That’s okay. Because, on Christmas, it’s the more the merrier. It’s like an open-house party and you don’t need any remote connection to the host in order to come.


There are actually so many people in church on Christmas Eve that sometimes a standing crowd forms in the back. That’s where it’s really a free-for-all. If you’re standing in the back you can pretty much completely disregard the no-talking rule, and not a single person sitting in the pews can get mad at you for it because you’re standing. You’re exerting so much effort just being in church the least you can do is participate in some friendly church chat.


Impressing the Crowd


There’s really no other way to put it: Christmas Eve Mass is a time to stunt. So many people from your childhood and adolescence are gathering under the same roof, church-chatting and giving the sign of peace and smiling at each other from across the aisle. Waving sometimes when it makes sense. Nodding respectfully here and there. Christmas Eve Mass is a great opportunity, if not the best opportunity, to show everyone in your community that you’re doing really, really well. You’re thriving. You’re at church with your family like the amazing person you are and you’re looking extremely Christmassy while you do it.


The Music


All of a sudden on Christmas Eve your parish has a full band and professionally trained singers and a stacked choir. A stacked choir that takes their duties very seriously despite their absence on every normal Sunday ceremony. You’re almost mad at how good the music is on Christmas Eve. Where are you every other week when I would love to hear “Joy to The World”? “Joy to the World” could be the new “Sicko Mode” if we really wanted it to be.


The Pageant


The pageant serves an abundance of purposes at Christmas Eve Mass. It educates us, refreshing our knowledge of Jesus’ birth. It entertains us, exhibiting insanely cute kids put on this demonstration that they definitely only rehearsed one time at CCD class. The way in which they barely know what they’re doing makes it exponentially cuter. And it elates us, setting a positive mood for the chaotic church chat that proceeds mass. The cluster that aggressively forms to shake the priest’s hand can certainly be overwhelming, but when you remember the pageant that just transpired - the cluster only partially triggers you.


The Vibes


Christmas Eve Mass has everyone ready to party. It’s like the best pre-game ever. But instead of drugs and alcohol you rip spiritual shots and get high off of fresh pine and incense. Friends of your family tell you it seems like you’re doing really, really well, which you, of course, expected, but it makes you feel outstanding, nonetheless. You make your way through the cluster and shake the priest’s hand like your Mom requested. He tells you he’s heard you’re doing really, really well, and although you’re almost positive he doesn’t know who you are, it makes you feel outstanding, nonetheless.


Christmas Eve Mass is kinda lit. It might not be lit in the same way that going to an upscale Manhattan club and getting bottle service and half-meeting a C-list celebrity is lit, but it falls in the same category. Who knows, some DJ might come out with a “Joy to the World”remix that has us all shook.

CultureJonathan Meador