With the beginning of the novena before Christmas and the singing of the O Antiphons the nuns are beginning to decorate the monastery. The soap department has turned into a "garden center" as the sister bring in greenery from downed pine trees and donated greenery to make wreathes, swags, garland and table centerpieces for the chapel, choir and the monastery. (Well, the centerpieces aren't for the chapel!) Choir practice is nearly every night and when we aren't practicing during recreation, sisters are preparing gifts, and decorations. Sr. Mary Cecilia is singing the first reading at Matins this year for the first time and practices anytime she can! These days she and Sr. Maureen have the delightful job of going to the doctors and benefactors who provide services to us throughout the year and delivering baskets of stolen, cookies and of course, special gift soaps!
This year's short Advent provides a few challenge to our last minute decorating habit but maybe this year we'll actually be ready for the beautiful feast of Christmas EARLY!