I am not a particularly spiritual person. I don’t go to church every Sunday. I don’t go to confession or even pray on a regular basis. I was baptized in the Catholic Church and growing up I did go to church every week (although not the Catholic Church because there wasn’t one any where near us) and even taught Sunday School for several years. I always loved going to church. Even back then I’m not sure if I “believed” but I did know that the lessons I was being taught, and later taught to other kids, were valuable. Growing up in a rural setting there was also a very strong sense of community in going to church. It was an opportunity to spend time with your neighbors and relatives, to be part of something together. It was also time that I spent with my grandparents which has left me with such wonderful memories. My grandfather was in charge of ringing the church bell at the start of the service and it will forever warm my heart when I hear church bells ringing.
The church in my tiny hometown eventually closed it’s doors. The building was old and in need of repairs that the church and the congregation just could not afford. That was the end of my church going days (at least on a regular basis). However, I have never, ever, missed going to Church on Christmas Eve. I know that some people see that as hypocritical but I do not. I don’t go begrudgingly. In fact I very much look forward to Christmas Eve Mass. It just does not seem right to me to celebrate Christmas without acknowledging WHY we celebrate Christmas. Although I don’t think I’m very spiritual, I also don’t consider myself to be an atheist. I suppose I lean more towards being an agnostic – I just haven’t gotten it all figured out yet.
Maybe I never will have it all figured out. I’m ok with that. What I do know is that remembering the true meaning of Christmas is important to me. My daughter is 2 1/2. This year will be her third time going to Christmas Eve Mass. Right now she has no idea what that means but she enjoys it and for now that is all that matters. She loves getting dressed up in her prettiest dress, going there with her family, singing Christmas songs, interacting with the other kids. What I do know for sure is that when I am sitting in that beautiful church on Christmas Eve, with my beautiful little girl, surrounded by my family and all of the other people who have come together to celebrate I truly do feel blessed.