Monday, January 18, 2010


Every year around Christmas my mom would tell us about when she went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve as a child.  Although I've never been Catholic, the way she spoke about going to Mass and then coming home to find all her presents under the tree gave me a strong desire to experience it too. 

Last year when my sister came to visit we had every intention to go to a midnight service, but when 11pm on Christmas Eve rolled around, neither of us wanted to bundle back up and leave the warmth of my house.  Instead we laid around my laptop to watch White Christmas.

In the cute town of Ansbach where my mom lives, the 'midnight' service (in what I believe to be a Protestant Church) happened to be at 10pm.  From the start of the day we all experienced one ordeal after another. In the afternoon I was facing the prospects of having to go to the Christmas Eve service on my own, and my desire to go was waning by the second. When 9pm rolled around, however, my mom was feeling well enough to join me and gave enough enthusiasm to shake me from my funk of no longer caring about going.

As we walked into the giant stone cathedral, sat down on padded pews and helped ourselves to free blankets to warm ourselves with, we watched the last bit of the rehearsal. The program started with the choir and congregation singing Christmas hymns, followed by a reading of Luke 2, and few songs by the choir.  The preacher then stood on his podium for what felt like 40 minutes, since I don't speak German, and spoke to the congregation about... something.  While he spoke I thought about how great it was to experience my first version of a midnight service in Germany as those around me (including my mom who actually understands the language) laughed at the preachers jokes. Once he concluded everyone joined in singing Stille Nacht with the overhead lights dimmed and the Christmas trees prominently on display.  It was nothing short of a magical moment, and one I'm sure I'll look back on for years to come.

1 comment:

ReL said...

That's pretty cool. And kinda funny because my roommate and I just had a conversation about Midnight Mass. She was telling me last week that she wanted to attend a Midnight Mass some year at Christmas just to see what it's like. Neato.