Monday, December 7, 2009


Let this story act as a lesson for you. Forewarned is forearmed.

This has been a busy week of interesting things. But there is one thing that sticks out. A friend of mine feeling poorly that he cannot come to my installation tonight stopped by on the weekend to help with projects around the parish. He is my Christmas Councilor. If you are heavily involved with your parish you know that Christmas begins in September. Masses are planned, the choir is already practicing its music, people want to know about decorations so the appropriate items might be ordered, so forth and so on.

Of course stores are already well into preparing for the holy day (or the season greeting day) and although they do not go all out in earnest until after Thanksgiving they have already had all the signs of the impending spending spree decorating their buildings and advertisements.

Through all of this the church scrupulously avoids any sign of celebrating Christmas. Why? Because it is not Christmas! It’s advent. Christmas begins on December 25th, not ends! Yet on December 27th (giving a day for people to make returns or buy a present they forgot) the store decorations are down and the music is changed and St. Valentine’s Day decorations are put out.

Now so your parish, not so! For we are finally singing “Joy to the World” and “Hark Harold the Angel Sings” and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Our homilies will be Christmasy in nature. So between the secular world and the ecclesial world Christmas can be stretched out for MONTHS. This is why some people such as myself think that we should skip Christmas every other year.

Fortunately I have a Christmas councilor who talks me through it, making sure that I build the proper cheer of the season and carefully observe all of the Christmas brouhaha for which I am truly grateful. So this past weekend we he stopped by we went to the tree farm to get a Christmas tree for the rectory. We are not putting it up yet – it’s just here getting ready to go.

Mom always said that a tree needs to sit in the garage for a week before it is brought into the house. She never said why – just that. The why I learned this past weekend. When the man picked up the tree a mouse ran out of it. When he went to chop of the bottom for us, another mouse ran out of it. So I told him to shake it well which he did – and guess what. 3’s company.

Back at the rectory we opened the tailgate and found we had a new resident here at the parish. It’s so hard living so far away from your brothers and sisters. I hope he decided to head home for the holidays and by that I do not mean back in the tree.

Subsequently I am following my mother’s advice and the tree shall sit out for a week before we bring it in after which it will have to pass the Three Priests Vigorously Shaking It test in order to come inside. I’m sure there is a cute story about the mouse that got to spend Christmas in the rectory brewing here – but I prefer to keep that in the realm of fiction.


Adoro said...

LOL, I suddenly want write a story about Fr. V's Christmas guest...


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Now you've got Jerry, you need a cat named Tom!

Lynne said...

Never a dull moment, eh Father?!

Matt W said...

Mother knows best!

A mouse in the parish house? Sounds like the makings of a J.F. Powers short story. (By the way, if you don't know his work, you ought to.)

Congratulations on the official welcoming. The standing ovations must have been very gratifying, yet the applause and the ovations could only begin to express how blessed we are to have you as our pastor!