December 1, 2010

Although I love all the liturgical seasons, Advent is by far my favorite. I'm sure it has a lot to do with all the sights and sounds, the darkening of the days that make the season so internal, prayerful, hopeful. Just before Advent starts there are preparations to be made. I need to ask the sister in charge of our woodlands to go out into the forest and cut some pine limbs. Then calling the monks to make sure brother has made the Advent candles for us. The morning of the Saturday brings dragging in the branches, cutting them, arranging them and placing the candles. It always turns out so beautiful and fills the church with its pine fragrance. I love the purple and the pink candles and the green of the pine boughs. At first Vespers that evening, when it already dark, the Abbess blesses the candle and then it is lit. This little liturgical ceremony always lifts my heart. On Sunday the purple vestments are brought out. I find them most beautiful. The music for the Mass and liturgy are unique to the season. They are full of longing and of hope, sung with melodies that are sometimes haunting and verses one cannot get out of one's head.

Best of all is that this all continues for all of Advent. Christmas come when Christmas actually comes. Our tree and decorations do not go up until December 23. Advent is experienced to the full, and so is Christmas.

Sister Maggie