Holy Hangover

dead-poinsettiaI’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.


3 Comments on “Holy Hangover”

  1. My solution (for laity) is to wait until the fourth week of Advent before listening to any XCmas music or doing any decorating. Not only is this timeline liturgically correct (which is oh-so-important to moi) but it makes it possible to enjoy 12 days of XCmas.

  2. Father Tim says:

    Good advice. And it makes finally receiving those 8 maids a-milking much more meaningful.

  3. Mary W. Cox says:

    Last night, with my daughter safely back in Boston after a happy, hectic week with us, and after more cooking than I’m accustomed to, more church than usual for this layperson (there was an ordination on Saturday)and a lot of places to be and things to do, I got started on the rest of Christmas–the rest-ful Christmas. I walked with camera and tripod to the street in our neighborhood that has really beautiful lights (pics are on my Facebook page). Today I slept late and then started writing Christmas cards, while listening to a CD of Anonymous 4 singing Celtic and British Christmas carols. I’ve got the week off, and I’m stretching this Christmas to its full measure!

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