This was a regular thing with us, except for those years when we travelled, or Penny was too sick to go or when I ushered for another service. We greatly preferred the "midnight mass" because it was (in Redding, in 1978, IIRC) the first "christmas service" we did together. Which was 30 years ago.
Going now to check the roads.
(Edited at 1:46am)
Well, the roads were nasty but never impassible. I got there at 11:00, just as things were getting ready to start. The church was not full, but there were about 80 people there, perhaps 90 including the choir, rector, assistant, acolytes, and Lay Eucharistic Ministers.
This was the first Christmas service I have been to since Penny died, and I sat through the whole thing. I lost it for a moment during one of the hymns.
I Want To Walk As A Child Of The Light
"In Him there is no darkness at all; the night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the City of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus."
... the lyrics in the Hymnal are copyrighted and thus are almost impossible to find online - latest copyright published to Kathleen Thomerson, 1970. (I did find them in one place, but heavily misquoted. She wrote the hymn in the 1930s and I'm certain it went through revisions AND it was treated as folk music rather than as personal property.)
Strangest thing for me, since I had been reminded that my first (conscious) Episcopal Christmas eve mass was with Penny and her folks, in 1978... at that time, I hadn't actually seen the Episcopal hymnal layout before. In the front of the hymnal we have a bunch of numbered songs with an S in front. Those are not hymns - they're songs used for various places, they're plainsong versions of psalms, etc.
The first song was hymn 83, and the couple sitting in front of me are relatively new. She'd never been for a full service before. I pointed out the correct one - that she wanted the ones without the S in front... and then I remembered that Penny pointed that out to me, when I was trying to find the correct hymn while juggling the prayerbook at the same time.
And now 30 years from now, she may have the chance to show someone else.