Catholicism is everywhere in Mexico during this season. No massive frenzy maybe, as might be expected. But heart-felt celebrations, nonetheless, over an event long ago when kings with gifts came long distances to celebrate the birth of another king – each arriving at exactly the same time, possibly camel-pooling.
This set a tradition in place that continues to this day, creating a magic to Christmas that seems to make all things ahead possible. Even now, we just got our life-saving vaccines, coming at a supernatural speed, drug cartels are floundering, unable to cook up their methamphetamines for lack of chemicals from China, and my blood test shows low triglycerides, all giving Christmas time that memorable sensation of fulfilling prayers.
But this year’s celebrations may be more about reminiscing about special Christmases past and sharing them with others. So, here’s a Christmas conflict from my youth about life’s choices.
Twelve years of Catholic indoctrination made one feel exceptional and sinfully unworthy at the same time. The Catholic canon of rights and wrongs and do’s and don’ts commanded me to follow a Christ-like path. Even though Christ himself wouldn’t have recognized such a path, especially the sacred weekly wafer, going into debt over gift-giving, the virgin birth, a directional star serving as a google map and speaking in tongues. Agnosticism begins to wilt that bashful flower of innocent faith.
Anyway, one Christmas, my mother decided: “Edward, I think you would make a good priest.”
No big problem, right? Wrong.