The Advent season began as it always does, sharing a message via float at the Ripley parade. Our float theme this year was, "What gift can I give you for Christmas," with adorable children coming out of boxes marked, "Love," "Peace," "Forgiveness," "Hope." The night was brisk, although not as cold as last year, and spirits were high. What a fun, large community event.
After that novena for Our Lady of Guadalupe began. We meet every night at the home of a family from our parish to say the rosary, sing songs to Our Lady, and, of course, share something wonderful to eat. It is really an awesome way to build community (and to learn prayers in Spanish, in case anyone is looking to do so).
Last weekend I helped staff a high school retreat held in the Jackson diocese called Search. About thirty or so high school teens spent the weekend Searching, sharing faith and experiences, and building relationships with each other and our God to carry with them on the journey. We were actually about 40 miles south of Jackson, but got about an inch and a half of snow. We prayerfully threw snowballs and made snow angels as well. We don't get snow very often down here, and it was totally gone by lunch the next day, but it certainly made for a gorgeous prayer walk the next morning.
Yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is my most favoritest day of the year (yes, I know that is not a word--but I have to emphasize somehow). Six years ago yesterday I chatted with Sister Becky, who was the vocation director, to ask how to begin the process to become a Sister of St. Joseph. It was an awesome day all around with a thought provoking homily at noon and an amazing, candlelit, prayer concert that evening. The e-mails fly on Dec. 8th in recognition of the yeses we say on our journeys and the questions each leg brings.
For now, it is early enough to get in some good prayer and maybe even a couple chapters of the novel I am reading. I am amazed at how much time the evening holds even with the novena. Must be some kind of space-time prayer continuum.