The most conspicuous part of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Jude is usually the 40ish year old woman (different woman each time, but always 40ish and always female) who wishes to use the opportunity to show off her singing voice during the hymns. We’re Episcopalians… conspicuity makes us uncomfortable.

We didn’t get that this year, instead getting a conspicuous fellow for a different reason.

My brothers Ollie and Mitch, myself, and Mom all filed in. My father ushers, so he hovered around the back keeping an eye on things and helping people find our seats. I was looking back at Dad when I saw the dude. He was wearing sweatpants, a wife-beater, and jogging suit coat. He looked a bit… disoriented.

Dad chose to seat the man in front of us. He spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out what song we were singing until Mitch leaned across the pew to help him out. The song ended and we went for the prayer book, where he again got lost. Like a kid who hadn’t studied the night before, he tried subtlely to see where the people next to him had their prayer book opened.

I looked back at my father. His eyes narrowed and he nodded. You may have to know my father personally to understand why that keen little bit of understatement was so funny and yet communicative.

It was apparently our duty to watch over the fellow. Mitch did most of the heavy-lifting. Mom just looked in wonderment at the guy who spent most of his service trying to figure out what was going on. At some point when we lined up for Holy Communion, he snapped out of his stupor and realized that everyone else had gone. We were towards the front of the line waiting to be placed at the alter. To make up for lost time, he made a beeline straight for the alter, taking the spot next to Mom and leaving me without a place to go, having to walk back to the front like it was I that had no idea what I was doing.

I got a little worried for our inebriated guest during the sermon, when he started to randomy mutter “amen” and “that’s right.” I was worried that thought he was at a more participatory Baptist or Methodist service. We’re Episcopalians, we only participate when our little booklet tells us to.

The good news is that after the sermon, he fell asleep and therefore was assured of causing no scene.

At the beginning of the service, we’re all given a candle that we light at the end of the service. He was a bit confused as to why he didn’t have a candle. Good move, Dad.

On the whole it was a bit distracting, but we had a little laugh about it afterwards. I’m not sure where he went, but I figure if it was anyone that needed religious guidance that night, it was him. It’s probably better to show up for the experience sober, though.

Category: Church

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3 Responses to Drunk on Xmas Eve

  1. Barry says:

    Well, your Christmas Eve service was more interesting than ours – our minister decreed the 5;30 service would be “family friendly”, which meant no nursery and all parents were encouraged to bring their children to the service.

    Which as an idea is fine, since Christmas is all about families and all that…but families lead to “babies” and “babies” lead to “crying” and “crying” lead to suffering…er, I mean “wailing” and “squalling”. I’m still not sure what the minister spoke about that evening, it was too difficult to hear through the din. I think it had something to do with Jesus, possibly.

    But seriously, I’m going to recommend that if he wants to do that again – great. Encourage folks to bring the kids. But still offer a nursery for those who want to attend the service, but don’t want to bring in the wailers. And if you do insist on toting in little Screaming Mimie, please take her out at the first instance of intolerance. Not the 10th…

  2. Hit Coffee » An Episcopalian’s Lament says:

    […] alian’s Lament

    Filed under: Church — trumwill @ 12:50 am

    Compared to last time around, the Christmas Eve service at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church was relatively non-event […]

  3. Hit Coffee » Christmas 2007 says:

    […] closer to a grand slam. Dad’s gotten really good at the gifts since he retired. No drunkards at the Christmas Eve service this year and again the pews were half-full. After over two decade […]

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