On Gaudete Sunday!
"Gaudete" from the first word of today's introit:
"Gaudete in Domino semper"
Rejoice in the Lord!
We've got the Christmas tree up -- and half decorated.
The little felt village is in place, but the new little people we have planned aren't finished.
And the Nativity Scene is about half way to completion!
I guess that must mean we're about half way to Christmas!
Until Christmas we won't turn on the lights on the big tree or in the forest around the Nativity. And, until Christmas eve, nothing out of the ordinary appears around the stable. A cow waits patiently for it knows-not-what in a pen within the structure. There is a bunny hopping around the rocks outside and two little mice scamper about, moving to a different spot every night. There's a turkey hiding in the bushes. The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph are on their way from Nazareth (on top of the piano), the Wise Men have just seen the star and are heading their way west from the Orient (on the dresser in our bedroom), and Little Baby Jesus is awaiting His humble/glorious arrival from Heaven (hidden noone-knows-where). The birds and flowers and other decorations that will spring up on the trees surrounding the rustic stable (now in a bin under the table upon which the scene is erected) have not even occured to the imaginations of the shepherds watching their grazing sheep in a meadow in the hills below the stable (on a table nearby).
And everything will probably stay right where it is (if I know how things work) until I get back with Paul from Virginia around the 21st. Just in time for the children's Christmas play. Just in time to finish the decorating. Just in time to squeeze in some baking. Just in time to fill in some corners in some stockings. And read the Christmas I Spy with the little boys. And put together Midnight Mass outfits for the girls. And clean my house for the party after the Baptism of our little grandson and Godson on the 23rd. Andjust in time to meditate on the beauty of innocence and grace in the world -- in the perfect beauty of baby Gavin's shining Christian soul, in the shining eyes of my littlest children as they watch the Nativity Scene come together, in the warmth and hugs of family home for the holidays, in the hush and stillness of that rarest of moments when Christ comes down to earth again at the Consecration at Midnight Mass and we remember with awe how the Word Made Flesh condescended to join us here on our earth, a sweet little Babe -- pure Innocence, the Author of Grace.
Isn't Christmas wonderful?
Happiest Gaudete Sunday, Friends!
* I'm off Sunday morning to Virginia to see Paul and Nicole and baby Gavin and to see how I can help out before we drive back to Colorado next week. In your kindness, will you please pray for our safe travels?
* And -- My dear brother, Greg, will be typing in the rest of the Spiritual Steps to Christmas for me, since I never did have the time to stock-pile all of them ahead. (Go figure that.) But, hooray for Greg! Thanks, brotha! (He really is the best) That's a big worry off my mind!