December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve... with or without incense.


Have your choice. And you can talk about whatever you like in the comments.

UPDATE, 7:15 p.m.: It's snowing in Madison!


Michael K said...

Back in my days of entertaining, we always had an invitation to an Irish Coffee party that was in the form of a Christmas tree in calligraphy. There was a shop that would create those cards every year as the date and day changed. I wish I had some copies of them now.

Merry Christmas.

The invitation reminded me of it.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Great idea. I remember as a small boy burying my nose in my mother's coat sleeve to avoid the noxious reek the priest was filling the Midnight Mass service with. I remember leaving the same service to find that it was snowing. A bit of Christmas magic that I'll never forget, and perhaps a reminder that you have to suffer a little to appreciate a little joy.

Ann Althouse said...

It's like the old days of smoking and non-smoking sections. Remember when they had those on planes.

robother said...

Incense and peppermints, trip of that kind.

Karen of Texas said...

The incense at Mass, combined with the overflowing throng of twice a year or visiting congregants who reek of too much perfume and way too liberally doused cologne, put me right out of the Christmas spirit some years. My eyes water and my nose starts running without fail. My sister has asthma and she simply has to get up and leave. The no incense is a great idea - one less air pollutant to suffer through. This may be one of those times where your 'no smell' may be an advantage, Professor.

Merry Christmas.

Ambrose said...

"No incense" for cafeteria Catholics who like to pick and choose what they like.

Saint Croix said...

Merry Christmas Althouse and Meade!

Ann Althouse said...

It's an Episcoplal church.

Nobody ever says "cafeteria Episcopal."

Deirdre Mundy said...

Even when we have incense, the priest usually opens windows near the front and tries to go light on it--- it's just too hard on people with respiratory problems.

Before we knew my kid had asthma, she used to do this weird thing where she'd be fine in Mass, scream like a demon when the incense came out, go outside, calm down, go back in, normal...until the incense.

So, incense free Masses are polite-- especially if you have an older congregation with a lot of COPD lurking.

Saint Croix said...

Sting singing I Saw Three Ships

Oso Negro said...

It is sad that even holiday wishes must be moderated. But still, Merry Christmas to all! And if I dare add in these latter days, Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men!

BDNYC said...

Anglicans like to overdo it on the incense during high mass, in my experience.

Bill said...

I hope there were bells
Even if there weren't smells.
And lots of candlelight
And no men in shorts.

Ambrose said...

"It's an Episcoplal church."

I never new Protestants used incense - even late at night. What do i know.

"Nobody ever says "cafeteria Episcopal.""

- because it's an oxymoron.

Happy holidays to Ann and Mead.

chuck said...

Merry Christmas Ann.

> Remember when they had those on planes.

I remember when you could smoke in the lecture hall. And some of my fondest memories are using the branch physics library in Pupin (Columbia University) late at night. I had a key and would let myself in, sit down in the leather upholstered chair by the table, pull over the ash tray, and study Landau and Lifshitz, Quantum Mechanics, into the small hours of the morning.

Unknown said...

Climate changes. Always has, always will. Mankind affects climate, locally and on a larger scale. Cities are filled with concrete, see "heat island," and farming and de-forestation activities changes ground albedo too. But it's known fact that the most significant atmospheric contaminant for climate us water vapor. It has a relatively short stay time in air compared to, say, CO2 but the impact and quantity of water vapor is hands-down the single most important "greenhouse gas." Water vapor in jet exhaust is also pretty significant, NOAA says it can by itself explain all temperature increases to date.

EPA says on average 2 gpm of water evaporates for each kWh used, and there are 16,076 TWh internationally produced in the steam cycle. And by the way, CO2 discharge pretty much tracks electricity production.

pm317 said...

72 now.. around DC; we want snow!

LarsPorsena said...

Merry Christmas to A&M

Enjoy the incense. The Maronite church I attend has the best. A heavenly sent scent.

Quayle said...

For what's the sound of the world out there?
What is that sound?

Those crunching noises pervading the air
Yes, all around
It's man devouring man, my dear
And then who are we to deny it in here?

These are desperate times
And desperate measures are called for
(Here we are, now, hot out of the oven)
What is that?

It's priest, have a little priest
Is it really good? Sir, it's too good, at least
Then again, they don't commit sins of the flesh
So it's pretty fresh

Awful lot of fat only where it sat
Haven't you got poet, or something like that?
No, y'see, the trouble with poet is
'Ow do you know it's deceased? Try the priest

Not as hearty as bishop, perhaps
But then again
Not as bland as curate, either

And good for business too
Always leaves you wantin' more
Trouble is
We only get it on Sundays

Lawyer's rather nice
If it's for a price
Order something else, though to follow
Since no one should swallow it twice


Enjoy your means on Christmas eve';
'n' we'll see what tomorrow brings.

God bless us, everyone.
Tiny Quayle

Theranter said...

Thank you for that reminder C Emcee. I'm trying to will myself into getting ready and going to Latin Mass tonight and that helped. I know once I get there there will be joy, it's just the getting ready and going alone that is difficult.

Merry Christmas all, and thank you for letting me hang out here once in awhile, I truly appreciate it.

Static Ping said...

Remember that silly poll about bombing Agrabah that you noted prior? WPA Research, a Republican polling group, pulled the same prank except this time asked if we should accept refugees from Agrabah. 44% of Democrats said "yes."

Frankly, if they all look like Jasmine then I'm all for it.

Merry Christmas!

traditionalguy said...

Second hand incense is better than no incense. God likes clouds a lot. Moses says He rides on them in his majesty, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms. ( great boxer's image) and he will drive out our enemy before us saying "Destroy him." Deuteronomy has great stuff.

CWJ said...

Nobody ever says "cafeteria Episcopal."

Because it's redundant.

CWJ said...

Good one , Static ping!!!

Saint Croix said...

1. Bing

2. The Cranberries

3. Ray

4. Johnny Cash and Neil Young

5. some anonymous cool

6. Frank

traditionalguy said...

Hand Bells. Why no Hand Bells. Maybe they are too much practice this time of the year.

YoungHegelian said...

In seventh grade I was an altar boy at Easter midnight mass. I was the thurible holder. Luckily, there were two priests concelebrating the service, because the parish priest was just drunk as a skunk, and needed all the help he could get. The priest needed to insert four wax "nails" in the Paschal candle. Out of seven tries, he got three in.

What this meant was that everything moved very slowly, including the incensing. I stood there holding the thurible as the incense smoke wafted upwards. By the end of Mass, I was essentially a frankincense-smoked ham.

Bay Area Guy said...

On Christmas Eve, my youngest kids like to watch "Elf" with Will Ferrell. It's still a pretty sweet and funny movie.

Mark said...

Some incense can sometimes be something of a physical irritant. Then again, we also live in a hyper-sensitive age, and for some, there is always something to grouse about -- it's too noisy, it's too crowded, the music is too modern, the music is too old, look at the way people are dressed, the people are too touchy-feely with that hand-holding at prayer, the Mass/service is too long, come on I've got a football game to watch, this is boring, yada yada yada. Then there are those who pride themselves on their devout Christian faith who close their churches on this day saying, "Christmas is about family."

The incense itself is supposed to signify the offering of our prayers, with the smoke rising up to God. There is also an old saying about things that annoy you -- offer it up.

Of course, this being Christmas, we could always go for the historical and have the church smell like a stable.

F said...

Snowing in Reno. Forecast for overnight temperatures in the single digits.

David said...

Everyone is incensed about something these days.

Merry Christmas to Althouse and Meade. I appreciate the blog and all I learn from it. Thanks for that.

buster said...

Merry Christmas to everyone, and especially to Ann and Meade.

Michael said...

Lux fulgébit hodie super nos; quia natus est nobis Dóminus: et vocábitur Admirábilis, Deus, Princeps pacis, Pater futúri sæculi; cujus regni non erit finis. (Ps. 92. 1) Dóminus regnávit, decórem indútus est: indútus est Dóminus fortitúdinem, et præcínxit se. v. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Merry Christmas.

gadfly said...

In the spirit of the season, let us join in with the cast of Walt Kelly's Pogo cartoon:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower Alleygaroo!
Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla Boy, Louisville Lou.
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola Boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!

Merry Christmas!

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madAsHell said...

I went to Christmas mass in Salzburg. We were late, and surprised to see that we could still have seats in the front of the cathedral.

We began to understand why the seats were available, when the priest reloaded the thurible for the third time.

madAsHell said...

Full disclosure. I am a Methodist. My wife, and children are Catholics. I was hoping they would have known better.

madAsHell said...

Merry Christmas!!

averagejoe said...

Merry Christmas Althouse, Meade and all the Althouse acolytes everywhere- God bless us, every one!

Phil 3:14 said...

Definition: Acolyte
one who assists a member of the clergy in a liturgical service by performing minor duties.

I am NOT an Acolyte and this blog is not liturgy.

Malesch Morocco said...

Merry Christmas Meadhouse. And thanks Ann for your gift of your blog, which I receive every day! Couldn't ask for a nicer present.

Robert Cook said...

I've never heard the term "cafeteria catholic." What does it mean?

I was raised in the Episcopal church. I always enjoyed the incense at Midnight Christmas service. I also liked the congregation congregating after the service in the Parish Hall (with the lighting dimmed, and illumination provided by candle light) for egg nog ("with" and "without") and fellowship before heading home to wrap or place gifts under the tree, or to sleep.

SeanF said...

Robert Cook: I've never heard the term "cafeteria catholic." What does it mean?

I cafeteria Catholic is someone who is nominally a member of the Roman Catholic Church, but who picks and chooses which of the Church's teachings to follow. Like ordering off a menu at a cafeteria - "I'll have the no meat on Fridays, but hold the no abortions, please."

Fabi said...

I was also a thurifer. Quite the promotion from boat boy. I love the smell of ecclesiastical incense. Maybe that's why I throw stalks of fresh rosemary directly on the coals while grilling a leg of lamb?

Merry Christmas to all, but especially to Ann and Meade.

Robert Cook said...

"I cafeteria Catholic is someone who is nominally a member of the Roman Catholic Church, but who picks and chooses which of the Church's teachings to follow. Like ordering off a menu at a cafeteria - 'I'll have the no meat on Fridays, but hold the no abortions, please.'"

Ah, I see.'s amusing, but moot anyway, as so much of the Catholic Church's theology (and to a lesser extent, the Episcopal Church as well, it being derived from the Catholic Church), is invented whole cloth and has no basis in Jesus' teachings.