Holy HangoverPosted: December 29, 2008
I’m hungover this morning and it has nothing to do with alcohol. It’s a “holy hangover” — the kind that comes from slaving over a hot altar the past week. I think most parish clergy feel the same way after Christmas — lots of preparation, too little sleep. But I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone has a touch of it.
Everyone’s sick of Christmas just as the season actually begins. Which is too bad. The malls have moved on to Valentine’s Day or President’s Day or whatever’s up next on the holiday docket. And we’re finally able to sing some Christmas carols in church — just when people are ready to puke if they hear another one. Ah, the joy of living a counter-cultural life.
The whole notion of the Holy Hangover is partly what drives the phenomenon of “Low Sunday” on the Sunday after Christmas. Attendance drops and so does the energy level. Raise your hand if you slept in yesterday (it’s okay I won’t tell). I actually cherish this low Sunday — you can still find some tinsel in the pews from the pageant angel’s halos, the service is small, contemplative, and quiet. The faithful remnant remains.
Things will soon enough get back to normal but there’s no hurry. Just as Christ is found in the holy zoo of the Christmas pageant and the beauty of Midnight Mass, he’s also found when just two or three are gathered together in his name. Which is precisely what low Sunday feels like.
But I’m still tired. So in the meantime I’m trying to cram a week off into one day. I’ll let you know how it’s going — I may just fly to Bermuda in my mind. But that might lead to an actual hangover.