Christmas … an old person’s thoughts.

We celebrated Midnight Mass at the newly refurbished St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth. Aesthetically it was a wonderful night and the new cathedral was magnificent. A choir and small chamber orchestra provided even more splendour to the service, much of which was sung in Latin 🙂

A while back in comments on another GD blog I mentioned that an Archbishopric is essentially an administrative post. Perth’s Archbishop Hickey is, I feel, definitely more an administrator than a religious inspiration. However, he chose several wonderful co-celebrants and, as always, at the moment of transubstantiation the Mystery was real. Say what you will about Catholics, I still think their practice of Real Presence beats the symbolism of many Protestants.

The only down side was parking. Ironically, most of the spots were taken not by those attending mass but people enjoying Perth’s nightlife (such as it is), yearning for things somewhat different than the ‘faithful’ in the Cathedral.

Sibling weddings and partnerships over the last year has seen my ‘family’ expand considerably. Consequently Christmas saw us visit several homes for various feasts. Christ, God or religion was not mentioned once. Except, perhaps if we view my brother’s “We Believe in Santa Claus” Christmas wreath as a religious statement not a joke.  Best not to go there…

Now I know this is impossible and will never happen, but…

wouldn’t it be great if Christmas could be just a religious holiday? Not that I have anything against the tradition of secular family feasting, conviviality, gathering and sharing. This is an important time for most families. But in my ideal world, we could move the secular part of Christmas – which let’s face it is the major aspect these days, to New Year’s Day, which has no religious overtones to spoil the broth or make people feel guilty for not practicing etc. That would leave Christmas just for religion and practice. And free up those parking spots 🙂

Just a thought…one that shows how old I am getting.

Happy (western) secular New Year to all MOTO readers and friends.



  1. Arcad · December 29, 2009

    Hallo Fr Peregrin,

    marry Christmas, although it is already done but since the post is related…

    I could not agree more with what you said. It makes me sad that these days kids have no clue what we are celebrating. I know a couple of Atheists who have the whole set up done, lights at the house, the tree, Santa, even a baby Jesus… Everyone is stressed out because of the shopping and the demand to get a decent value present (god forbid that you are under price). A Christmas CD playing in the background and not even a second of reflection before the food is shuffed down…. In Russia, the presents will be given at new years. I have no idea how much that benefits Christmas dinners but the idea is not bad. And after all, there are birthdays fro presents, no?

    But then, these days, religion as “we” know it is not fancy enough. Rather face to Buddhism or anythign else fancy in Hollywood, because it is so nicely exotically mystical. Well that´s a total different story.

    I am protestant, German Lutheran. In our services – at least as I know them – we still have some of that mystery. Where I live now, in Switzerland, teh reformed services are rather plain (if not to say boring). Having said that, I also have to agree that the Catholics still have the most “thrilling”, mystical ceremony. And it is good that they got Latin back into it too (also another story).

    Happy New Year

    Fra Arcad-S.L.

  2. Peregrin · December 30, 2009

    Care Fr Arcad,

    thanks for the comments. You make very good points. I did not know about the Russian custom – thank you. I also know so little about Lutheran practice, it is good to get your views. Any MOTO readers reading this should head over to Arcad’s blog for his recent GD blog. Ta 🙂

  3. David · December 30, 2009

    I agree totally, mostly because I hate buying presents, and every time I do it makes my poor attempts living a more Christ like life seem even worse as now I am conforming to mass commercialism instead of celebrating a amazing mystery.

    What else can we expect though? With a continually growing amount of people being dis-enchanted with the mysteries, and spirituality/religion, it unfortunately looks to only get worse.

    Also I wouldn’t call it an old persons view, unless my bald patch makes me old also 😀

  4. kate · December 30, 2009

    With all due respect everyone: stop talking about how “old” you are. It makes me tired.

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