Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

During the homily today, Father Finian asked us to ponder what Christmas means to us. For me, I am just enamored by the incarnation, and I don't know much how to put that into words. Jon, a theology classmate of Sister Pamela Catherine, shared a beautiful Christmas song with her that does help to express this wonder:

"Winter Snow"- Audrey Assad w/ Chris Tomlin

Winter Snow - higher resolution from Eric Rutgrink on Vimeo.

Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Could’ve swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we’ve scarred

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

No, Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

The Motherhouse is getting trimmed and looking lovely. In the novitiate, we sat down and worked on Christmas cards together while listening to Susan Boyle's new CD, "The Gift". It was a "gift" Sister Pamela Catherine and I gave to Sister Natalie for her birthday. We put together a scavenger hunt around the novitiate for her and it was at the end....we were amazed at how quickly she figured out the clues!

Today we are going the Rahr-West Art Museum to see their Christmas display with the Novitiate team. I am looking forward to that.

What does Christmas mean to you? A time for sharing? A time for family and/or friends? A time for community? A time to mourn? A time to celebrate? A time for a break from school? A time to give and to receive? A time to remember and honor in a special way the men and women serving overseas? A time to bake Christmas cookies? A time to help others believe (or maintain their belief) in Santa? Getting "time-and-a-half" at work to help make ends meet?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Break Begins!

I finished my Old Testament class this morning with the final exam, and now it's time to write Christmas cards, begin reading a social justice book, crochet, put together Christmas gifts, etc.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I read a brilliant article in my favorite Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor, called Sappy - and Sacred by Robert P. Lockwood. His article challenges the often negative thoughts of the commercialization of Christmas.

He writes: "Christmas is when faith can't be pushed to the periphery, no matter how hard we shove. In fact, we open our doors and invite it right into our homes with the tree, the stockings, the cards and the gifts. No matter how much the culture tries to gloss it over into secular mush, the faith can't be avoided at Christmas. It's front and center, the whole reason why everything happens.

"So let Elvis be blue and let that kid keep holding onto the pair of Christmas shoes. Let the downtown lights be lit, let Santa hold court at the mall, let the halls be decked with boughs of holly. It's all evangelization." (Lockwood)

Then he closes with my favorite part of the article, because we pray the Canticle of Daniel often in our Office Books:

"With apologies to the author of the Book of Daniel (3:52-90), and my buddy Mike, who first suggested it, we need a Christmas litany to remind us that:

"'Christmas lights and Christmas candles, Bless the Lord.
'Shopping lines and the last-minute rush, Bless the Lord.
'Stockings and mistletoe, Bless the Lord.
'Wrapping paper and bows, Bless the Lord.
'Gifts and cards, Bless the Lord.
'Sappy songs and trees on SUVs, Bless the Lord.'" (Lockwood)

It's journalism at it's finest.

Last night, the Clipper City Chordmen performed at the Motherhouse. They came last year, too, and both times I have really enjoyed their Christmas concert. To help describe the group, I found the following on their website: "The Clipper City Chordsmen Chorus is an a cappella men’s chorus whose mission is to 'preserve and encourage' the Barber Shop style of music" (
They are spectacular. My favorite song they performed was Chipmunks Christmas Song. One of them does the Alvin voice really well!

I am praying that your Advent season is full of joy, anticipation, and goodwill.
If you live in England or Rome, please know of my daily prayers for your safety.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Few Simple Joys

We are now in the third week of Advent, and the pink (rose) candle is lit, representing joy. We wait joyfully for the coming of our Savior. God has also provided some simple things to enjoy at the convent (besides, of course, the wonderfully exciting Insignia Ceremony for our Postulants!!!!):

-The first snow fall that led Sister Daniella, Sister Therese, Sister Pamela Catherine and I out to make snow angels, have a snowball fight, and even go sledding! See pictures by clicking here.

-An excellent harp concert from the students at the Holy Family Conservatory.

-Getting to watch the 2006 movie the Nativity Story with the postulants and our directresses.....had never seen it before. It is incredible!

-Getting my favorite Christmas song stuck in my head. Here it is for you to enjoy, with the lyrics in the video:
"I Celebrate the Day" - Relient K

-And, finally, the Lions beat the Packers today! Leslie, one of the postulants, who is a Packer fan, but a supporter of me (her words) ran with me down the hall with my Lion's blanket a few times to celebrate. It was very fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cute Video of a Girl Telling the Story of Jonah

This is too cute not to share with all of you! It is worth the 7 minutes or so it takes to watch it! It has been circulating through the emails of many of the Sisters in our community, and we have enjoyed it very much.

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.