The blog

The blog—informal opinions and chat about the parish

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Today is Christmas Day, and as with most Episcopal churches, things are dark at St. Matthew's. The big deal was last night—and it was quite a big deal indeed. We had special music, candles everywhere, and wreaths. We also had more than fifty people in the room, something of a recent record for us.

I didn't do any asking, but I got the impression that a lot of the visitors were family members of regulars, and that's OK with me. And we did have (as we do on Easter) a few newcomers who showed up just for Christmas Eve.

Donald Trump had originally planned on going to Florida for a couple of weeks, but, in the middle of a lot of political trouble, he stayed back in Washington while his wife went to Florida. Then she came back and (apparently with very little prior notice) they showed up at Washington National Cathedral for Christmas Eve.

As an Episcopalian, I can be proud that he chose our outfit over the others; as a Christian, I'm intrigued. Trump's personal history has never been very religious. The church he listed as his home church when he was campaigning had no record of him. When he tried to comment about Scripture at Liberty University, he obviously had never heard of II Corinthians. At a Presbyterian church, they passed the plate of Communion bread and he tried to put money in it. At George Bush's funeral, he obviously fumbled with the Apostles' Creed. I'd say he's not into the routine of being in a church on Sunday morning.

If he and Melania had simply stayed put in the White House, I doubt if there would have been much comment.

A couple of days ago, an excellent Washington Post article on Chreasters (the people who only show up on Christmas and Easter) appeared. The author made the point that those twice-a-year attenders might be looking for something transcendent in their lives, something beyond power and politics and money. And besides, our Episcopalian slogan is "everyone is welcome." So hooray for the Chreasters and welcome to Donald Trump. I hope you began to find what you were looking for.