Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Christmas Week—Part II

Caput apri deferro 
Reddens laudes Domino!

With the solstice having come and gone I have been feeling an urge to celebrate. It doesn`t hurt that this week has been full of parties. The gloom and dark days (sunset at 15:48, seriously) are going and every day there is a tad more light. It`s lovely.

On Christmas Eve we were permitted to leave work at 14:30 and I was safely home by 15:00. My husband had had a busy morning picking up the last few things for Christmas dinner and I came home to be greeted with a giant goose and some treats from the butchers. Apparently there were so many people going to pick up their Christmas birds that the line-up stretched around the block and it took David half-an-hour to get into the store.

Fun with the goose

In the afternoon we had a lovely snack of port, wensleydale cheese with cranberries, and delightfully thin & crispy water crackers. It was our tribute to the Christmas eve appetizers that our families always serve. A few hours later we trekked down to The Boathouse for our Christmas Eve dinner. While waiting for our food we noticed a stack of board games and we made it through checkers and snakes & ladders before we had to leave for Mass.
Preparing the snack (using his new Gandalf's-head wine pourer)
The church seemed a little more full than last year and in the dim light it felt like we were present in the Bethlehem cave where Christ was born. I miss home most of all on Christmas Eve as I have never stopped going to the candlelight service at Arrowsmith for as long as I`ve been alive (with the exception of the past two years) and I miss the joyful celebration of jaunty music and candlelight. I also miss the sleepy quiet of midnight Mass and the aged voices of the KoC singing their carols. However, we only get to live once on this earth and there is something to be said for attending Christmas Mass in a country where Christmas masses have been present for centuries longer than Port Alberni has even existed. I know that in the summer I spoke to many about how incredible I find it to be a Christian in this country where Christianity is so old, and how beautiful it is to be a Catholic in a country that tried, and failed, to stamp the Church out. Being at the Christmas Vigil profoundly touches these feelings. Here I am one with the countless generations of Christians who have celebrated this night.

When mass was over we wandered home through snowy silent streets. Santa came and filled our stockings, and then we settled down to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol and eat roast chestnuts. I also managed to talk to my family for a bit, and I bless whoever invented the video-call because makes the distance so much shorter.

Then, Christmas day! A little voice in my ear at 7am telling me that it was Christmas and there were presents...a voice that went away and let me sleep until 9:30 at which point we got up and opened our stockings. Then a special breakfast, made unique by a shortage of supplies at the grocers (here`s to cooking with quark when you can`t get ricotta), and more present opening. We were thrilled with our gifts and touched by the generosity of our families.

The rest of the day passed slowly –snacking, a winter walk—and then it was time to begin cooking The Dinner. With just the two of us we ended up with enough leftovers for days, but David`s goose was cooked to perfection and the ten million side dishes I made went down a treat. We are both certainly promoting the Christmas Goose. It was so delicious—like a deeper tasting turkey, and it was so tender that the meat was falling off the bones. It is also delicious cold, as we learned today.


1 comment:

  1. I do miss Arrowsmith Christmas Eve service as well; but at our church we had a dimly lit service on the 26th and it had many of the same feelings...though on the day after CHristmas there were not a ton of people there.

    I think leftover meat, cold, is the best thing ever.