Post XXX

Short But Sweet.

‘Tis the season for Christmas joy. The night is cold and all around me in this, the far northeast of England in the deepest of winters, I am surrounded by a beautiful field of… rain. ‘Ah well, maybe the pour down will keep the cacophonous neighbourhood children in on Christmas Day’, I say quietly to myself with a hearty chuckle. Tonight is the night of Christmas Eve, and it’s a time for mass, a mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus… seven months early. Well, I suppose if it’s good enough for The Queen.

I gaze up and stare at the billions of candles in the night sky and I can almost feel their rays on my skin bathing me in a wonderful warm glow. I prayed it was that. I might’ve been on fire.

I was heading to Midnight Mass in the grand Saint Mary’s Cathedral, that most sacred of Roman Catholic traditions, at eleven at night. Although the carols started at ten-thirty. Well, my mum enjoys them, and you know the saying, whatever makes your mum happy makes you slightly less aggravated.

It’s a most magical cathedral. It’s a modern leviathan, the youngest cathedral in England at 25 years old, one that I’ve always thought of as something special. I was there at its first public mass in 1989. I hadn’t been born yet, but you get the idea. Brown coarse bricks make up its walls, odd angles and modern architecture make up its shape, a huge fabric art piece is adorned vertically on a 25-foot wall behind the 180-degree chancel, with a hefty marble altar at its heart. And behind it all, a beautiful gold tabernacle from the original cathedral, 123 years old when it was destroyed by arsonists in 2001. Idiots.

I’m not a particularly religious man (more litigious), but for me, that mass is where it all starts. That’s when Christmas first feels like Christmas. 1,000 people sharing joy and friendship, a shared hope for goodwill and peace. It’s hard not to see the charm of a church or any place of worship on a day when we celebrate the happiest time of the year together.

There’s something so ethereal about this time of year. I thought that whilst listening to the gorgeous traditional cathedral sound of the mighty organ (to which the church was built around), with a massive smile on my face as the joy of the occasion was overcome with amazing singing from the choir and congregation, and the warmest of words were spoken by the Bishop. Yes, I knew then that my Christmas was going to be amazing.

Oh look, I was having such fun I didn’t realize the time. Yes, midnight mass is almost over and it’s just gone midnight.

Merry Christmas :|:

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