One of my fondest Christmas memories is going to Rome to see the Pope say Midnight Mass. Of course, when you're thirteen at the time, you aren't exactly thrilled about sitting in a crowded cathedral (or freezing outside sitting in St.Peter's Square), but the atmosphere is like nothing else. Solemn, yet festive at the same time.
We went as an organized church group, with a chartered bus from Naples. It was a 2 hour drive north to Rome and St. Peter's Basilica. The purples of Advent were changed to the red of Christmas, and the Pope was in his red, white and gold robes. Our group ended up close to the back, so the Pope looked like a tiny spot among the cardinals and bishops. The choir sang the Hallelujahs and prayers were said in multiple languages: French, Italian, English, Latin, Spanish...it was a polyglot of chants and intercessions.
The Mass went on for an hour or more. By the time it was finished, all the children of the group were more than eager to go back home and open presents, even thought we didn't arrive until 3 in the morning. We were all too keyed up to sleep on the trip home.
It was difficult to appreciate the event when you were so young, but now I look back on it with fondness and I would turn back time to go there again.
All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010