Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It was the day before Christmas . . .

Crèche, Saint Benedict's Monastery
What is the day before Christmas like at Saint Benedict's?  Not very different from yours I suspect.  In my living group of three sisters we began our day very early this morning making kuliches for all 24 sisters who live in our building.  They were delivered warm at 6:30 a.m. in time for their breakfast, we hope. Morning Prayer was at 8:15 and by the antiphons, psalms, canticles and reading there can be no doubt that we have moved into the spirit of the great feast of the birth of Jesus.

As I was reflecting on this day, I took a walk to the chapel and Gathering Place hoping to get a picture or two for the blog.  Not only was I not disappointed but I can report that preparations for tonight and the days of Christmas are in full swing.  Just yesterday the crèche in the picture was starkly empty and the poinsettias were tucked out of sight until this morning. Now they are decorating the chapel, the Gathering Place, the Oratory and the monastery dining room. Many sisters around the monastery are making sure that all details are attended to like the trimming of the Easter candle at the entrance of the chapel, any last minute cleaning and phone calls to our friends assuring them of our prayers during the Christmas season. Meanwhile in the chapel Sister Janine Mettling is practicing with several musicians: cellist, organist, flutist and trumpeter. I expect that the schola (our choir) and the bell ringers will also be practicing a little later this morning.  S. Janine is an excellent musician and schola director and we know without a doubt that the singing and caroling that will precede our Eucharist this evening will be beautiful, lift our spirits and warm our hearts to help us leave our distractions behind and focus on what is, after all, the real reason for all the energy and time offered with love to make this time a great festive occasion to celebrate the coming of Emmanuel.

May you have a most blessed Christmas and may your heart be filled with hope, joy and peace!

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