What is a perennial truth if nothing other than a truth which springs up every year?
We who are strangers and sojourners in the city of man, we who aspire towards citizenship in the city of God, we know that Christmas is all about celebrating Christ’s birth.
All of Christian literature, all of the literature that celebrates or dimly shadows Christendom stands in testimony that Christendom is the Feast! Search your Homer. Search your Virgil. Sit with Beowulf at the mead-benches in Hrothgar’s Heorot or with Gawain at the halls of Arthur or King Bertilak. All of us, pilgrims proceeding to Canterbury know that our pilgrimage begins and ends with feasting!
The culmination of Christendom is centered around the sacrum convivium, the sacred feast in which Christ Himself is ultimately consumed!
And when we feast we do everything we can to carry out and reproduce all the beautiful traditions that we have grown up with, the traditions of our parents and grandparents and those we have gathered from others through marriage or simply emulation.
Catholic civilization, Christendom, is, among other things, a sort of fabric composed of all that is good, true, and beautiful-all these things woven into a single cloth- not a quilt-but an integral cloth, an exquisite tapestry!
Of course, all the externals, all the things visible to the outward eye and senses are something just shy of sacramentals in that they betoken the inward realities of the exercise of Christ’s grace and His workings in our own minds and hearts.
Sure, at the present time, Christendom might appear to have disappeared from view, nonetheless, it lives with vigor and vibrancy in the hearts of all those who celebrate Christmas with feasting!
This year we commenced our Christmas Day celebration at about 2:30 pm with brunch.
Why so late?
Well – the late Christmas-day brunch is a common theme among Catholic clergy, organists, musicians, choristers, trumpet players, timpanists and anyone who volunteered his or her services at vigil Masses and Midnight Masses and early morning Masses and mid-morning Masses and noon Masses throughout the world.
And so it was with our family. Given that our last Mass was at noon on Christmas Day what a joy it was to return home and see the table set and ready for action!
Every year we have an army of these little creamy baby Jesus buns
baked to a golden brown!
It could be that those of you who inhabit the warmer and more temperate climes of this country are used to the bright colors of a fresh fruit salad. But until you have lived in the colder northern regions of this earth, you cannot have experienced the full joy of bright ruby raspberries, sunny pineapple and mild mango in the winter!
Pears and pomegranates both of which symbolize eternal life make an appropriate centerpiece for any brunch table!
I don’t know what mimosas symbolize if nothing other than the effervescent emotions that bubble over on Christmas day.
We needn’t look for symbolism in every food that is appropriate for Christmas Brunch. But I loved this dish of diced fried potatoes.
Though the cell phone camera is not able to catch the moist scrumptiousness of the cheesy egg sausage Strata, I can assure you that it was indeed cheesy moist and scrumptious.
I think the empty strata dish stands in testimony to my former statement. Q.E.D.!
You might wonder how anyone who partakes of an afternoon brunch can think of a Christmas dinner! But there are roughly six hours between a 2:30 brunch and a 9pm dinner. While the chefs were at work the rest of us could spend our time gazing at the tree with a sort of misty gratitude for brunch as well as a joyful expectation of the future feast.
This year we opted for the boneless Ribeye USDA roast. Here she is ready to go into the 500-degree oven for 25 minutes marinated in a pound of butter and minced garlic
Meanwhile, Mary began preparing the mushroom sauce!
The mushroom concoction consisted of the mushrooms mixed with wine, balsamic vinegar and the juices from the Ribeye.
As the dinner table was prepared, the chefs refreshed themselves with a chilled Riesling,
while the bystanders had a small tasting of the Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch that one fortunate member of our company received in his stocking.
Another army of soft yeasted dinner rolls magically prepared themselves to enter the oven while the roast was resting.
At last, with appetites rested and renewed for the attack, dinner is served.
No Christmas is complete without the Enstrom Toffee that my father sends every year!