HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS!!! Blessed Christmas to all of you! Our last days of Advent were spent eagerly preparing our hearts for Baby Jesus' coming – and preparing our gifts for our "Advent Angels"! On the last Sunday of Advent we went to St. Raymond's, a Maronite Rite Catholic Church (one of the Eastern rites of the Church). It was a very beautiful liturgy.
Christmas Eve we spent helping in the bookcenter, decorating the chapel, and practicing our Christmas Mass music one last time! We also went to a Christmas Eve Vigil Mass. That's one of my favorite parts of Christmas: to walk into church on Christmas Eve, when the lights are dimmed and the church is decorated, and to know that Jesus, Emmanuel, is with us at last!
Christmas Day was very beautiful as well. While it was difficult for all of us not to be home for Christmas, it was clear that God always gives us more than we could ever ask or imagine. Our many weeks of choir practice made for a beautiful Christmas morning Mass. After Mass, the sisters prepared a great meal, and after our meal, we provided the entertainment: a choreographed dance routine to a song on one of our Christmas CD's. Then, we opened presents! Each one of us bought/made a gift for each member of the community, and it was very exciting to see how creative everyone was! It was truly a beautiful celebration of Jesus' birth that made us very grateful for all God has given us and is to us.
The day after Christmas, the bookcenter was closed, so we went to the "City Museum of St. Louis." This is a very interesting place that has just about everything: arts and crafts, a circus, a "skate-less" skate park, caves, architectural displays, and stairs and slides and tunnels everywhere, indoors and out – all made from recycled materials! Fascinating! We spent the morning there with the sisters.
Enjoy the pictures: Julia, Sr. Jerome, Alina, and Sr. Carmen singing at Christmas morning Mass; the community with Fr. Edwards, the pastor at St. Elizabeth's; and Alina, Sr. Agnes, Sr. Jerome, Emily, Sr. Caritas, and Sr. Carmen at the City Museum circus!