Saturday, December 24, 2005

What am I doing up so early?

It's 6:45 Saturday morning. I've been up since 5 am; I've had coffee, breakfast, prayed part of my office, browsed the 'net (nothing much happening--everyone is more sensible than I) and done some decorating for Christmas. I bought some garland with lights in it -- just fits the rail on the staircase. I bought two mega-strings of lights (3oo apiece!) for the tree. First I had to clip off all those annoying little lawyer-generated tags all over the light strings, which have tiny print, and say (in two languages at least!) things like, "this involves electricity -- so don't do anything really stupid with this, like plugging it in, then cutting it with a scissors, or taking the other end with you into a bathtub full of water, or trying to light the whole house off of one plug--but since this warning is for morons, and morons don't pay attention to warnings, this is really useless, except it makes our lawyers happy..."

I should really let someone else handle the lights, since this brings out my worst perfectionism; fortunately, laziness comes to the rescue -- one vice moderating another: what might the Angelic Doctor make of that?

Anyway, the lights are on, and they look nice, especially as it's still dark outside. I have twinkling lights on the porch, strung along the perimeter -- that took about 10 minutes. (All white for the porch; multi-color for the tree, for those who care.) I have my manger ready: Joseph and Mary just arrived about 30 minutes ago; the cow and donkey seem a little miffed.

Later today--two hours from now!--I'll head over to church to shrive anyone who comes (for confession), then I think I'll have second breakfast, and take a nap. The retired priest here is having a Mass for a couple this afternoon, at which he will witness the convalidation of their marriage. I'm invited to concelebrate; I will probably join them. At 6, we'll have our first Mass for Christmas, and I'll find out if my rehearsal with the servers made any sense to them.

I had to go over things with four of them Thursday evening, and then the remaining server -- the "smoker" (the one who'll handle incense) -- on Friday afternoon. Fortunately, he's a bright boy and seemed eager for the challenge. He'll have a lot of work, insofar as I intend to have smoke at every possible place (yes, including the elevations, for any who care about such details). Then we do almost the same thing at Midnight: my "smoker" for that Mass seemed a little dazed, but his mom said, "oh, he'll be fine."

In between, I'm going to dinner with some parishioners. I expect I won't get to bed until after 2 am, which is fine, if only I last that long. (I'm really a night person, which is why waking up at 5 am is such a trauma. And fair warning: anyone who assumes a posture of moral superiority because he rises early will be subjected to withering skepticism on my part.)

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