I am happy to say, that the annual Christmas Classic Dance, held each year by St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, was a good time last Sunday. I was exceptionally pleased because in the silent auction that is part of it, I outbid the other parents for the 4th grade project (a beautiful quilt featuring original designs by the students, including the Digidaughter) and the kindergarten Christmas tree skirt (featuring the children's handrpints, including that of the Digison).
As is our tradition, during the Happy Hour beforehand, we gather 'round the piano (played impeccably by Fr. Christopher Smith with accompaniment on guitar by Fr. John Moneypenny) and sing - LOUDLY - Christmas carols. Our tradition is that just before dinner, we end with "The 12 Days of Christmas", sung raucously and usually accentuated by parishioners acting out each gift.
A very fun time - but usually it brings to mind a story I heard, that "The 12 Days of Christmas" was a means of teaching the Catholic faith to the English during Elizabethean times when it was illegal to even be Catholic!
The urban legend debunkers, www. snopes.com (see link of left hand side), say this isn't so, or, at least, it cannot be proven. Nonetheless, I look around at the parishioners happily caroling, at the priests in their Roman collars joining in, and I think how happy the martyrs for the faith, such as my friend, St. Thomas More, would be to see that we are still here.
It's Christmas, and we can join together as fellow Catholics and sing our carols without fear. Then I think how fortunate we are to be in a country that permits that - indeed, even though it was not part of our songbook, Fr. Christopher kindly played, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and before singing, I explained to the gathered how it was written during WWII and we dedicated it to the men and women in the Armed Forces, fighting to keep us free. And yes, more than a few wiped a tear from their eye while singing it.
So put up lights! Sing carols! And don't be afraid to say, "Merry Christmas!"