Midnight Night Mass on First Hill
If I have been to a Catholic Midnight Mass before, I do not remember it. As far as I know, Christmas Eve this year was the first time I have attended on. I went to St. James Cathedral on First Hill. Among the hospitals and dark corners sits this stunning church. It’s a little surprising, honestly. I’ve walked by that church numerous times and hardly noticed it (which is also stunning to know I could completely miss something so huge). Truth to be told though, I don’t really explore churches. You see, half of my life I grew up in the Bible belt and I’m a little tired of hearing about Jesus’s awesomeness and how I suck because I don’t believe in a Supreme Being. Honestly, I love Jesus. I think he’s a cool dude but we know his followers aren’t always as cool as he was. I think I’ve blocked out Jesus’s followers for quite some time but not this year and I’m glad I didn’t.
Gold squares hung from the center of the ceiling, twirling and bouncing gentle light all over the building. Red cloth and wreaths were hung and huge stone-looking table stood in the center, underneath the gold squares. The details throughout the church made me a little proud too. See, it isn’t just Europe that has all the nice churches.
My friends and family arrived just in time for the organ prelude. Honestly, I think St. Marks has a better organist but it was still quite lovely. Then the processional of the choir and church officiates. The choir, oh the choir, was heavenly. Really, I think their god would’ve been quite proud to hear them. The whole place was still while they began to tell the story of Jesus through song. We stood up, sang, sat down, they sang, we stood up and sang again, then sat down, they sang. We prayed (or simply bowed our heads out of respect for others’ prayers), we kneeled, we listened while the priest spoke and the choir sang again. This went on for about 3 1/2 hours. It was quite a sight.
The priest gets bonus points for referring to the Grapes of Wrath during a Christmas sermon. Just.. awesome. I like Steinbeck too, sir!
I’m glad we got there as early as we did because seats fill up quickly. This is a time-honored tradition in the Catholic faith but also at this specific Cathedral in Seattle. It was a beautiful service thanks to everyone who put it together.