Despite the grimness which followed me like a dark cloud throughout most of Advent, I felt that I managed to recover the Christmas spirit towards the end, after all. What made the difference was ultimately the Misa de Gallo. I completed the nine days this year, though there were two near misses when my alarm clock didn't go off. My mind wasn't entirely on the Mass, and oftentimes I was dozing off during the homily. But complete it I did and imperfect as my participation may have been, Mass always brings with it its own grace.
It helped, too, that during the vigil Mass last night, the Redemptorist seminarians staged a mini-concert between services. It was good to hear Christmas songs, traditional Christmas songs, being sung. They sang it quite well, too. (Markedly absent this year was any form of Christmas carol, no one even bothered to send us a solicitation envelope anymore.)
And to top it off, here's a Christmas puppy.