Sunday, November 30, 2014

Keep Watch

First Sunday in Advent and St. Andrew's Day

I came home from a sunny and unusually warm thanksgiving holiday to icy roads and snow covered mountains. Our flight was delayed some and we ended up not arriving home until almost 1:30 a.m., so today was slow-going and I slept in til nearly 10:30 a.m. That doesn't happen often! I managed to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door by 2 p.m. and we did our Giving Tree shopping for the church and quickly ate a meal as we headed out to evening Mass.

The black ice and holiday weekend meant low numbers at this Mass, so I ended up being asked to be a eucharistic minister, something that happens only about once or twice a year, and No. 1 was asked to be a Lector. She did a great job and I nearly had an anxiety attack about serving Communion, but made it through. Keep watch! is what I remember of the Gospel. The homily was about not waiting until it is too late to show people love.

I noticed a woman in our parish wearing a lace veil but with denim jeans. We must be one of the few regions of the country where that makes sense. Almost every woman I know who wears a veil for Mass (and none of them are at our parish, most are online friends), wears it for Modesty, as part of feminine dress, so she's wearing a skirt or dress as well. I didn't want to put her on the spot about her choice, so I didn't ask her why the veil, why the jeans? Maybe it was simply too cold and she didn't have a clean skirt. But I could imagine wearing a veil with jeans implies something different; a heartfelt belief in God's true presence at Mass in Communion. It makes perfect sense to me anyhow.

After Mass, we came home and lit our Advent wreath, said the prayer for the week and I gave each of my kids their chocolate Advent calendars. We had a little wrangling over who got which design so I told each of them which I had picked for who and then they decided whether or not to accept my choice. The younger two ended up having to play rock, paper, scissors, to decide who got the calendar with gnomes and a giant tree house. The loser graciously accepted the decision and I complimented her on not losing her cool.

After that, we had our St. Andrew's Tea, which was just cocoa and thistle napkins around the advent wreath. We wrapped our Giving Tree gifts and I'll drive them over to the church when the streets have thawed out this week. No. 3 was especially good at wrapping; her gift looks really artistic. I'm afraid the poor kid who gets the stack of books she requested is going to be in for a lot of work to dig them out of the layers of paper and packing tape I used.

Kids are hoping for a late-start notice from the school district in the morning. Our area just isn't equipped to deal with icy roads and snow that lingers. So many hills and so few de-icing machines. I wouldn't mind a late start myself!

I started reading a new book on the airplane. I think this makes the fourth or fifth book I'm in the middle of. The Martian by Andy Weir is a straight up science fiction novel, with realistic science and surprisingly gripping narrative. I would never in a million years be able to understand the math and chemistry going on in this book, it's like the mother of all McGuyver situations, a Crichton adveture and a Sherlock style intricate puzzle to figure out, but it's totally enjoyable even without understanding all that. It's rare to find novels like this being printed now. The SF/F market is really heavily taken over by media tie-ins and fantasy novels (in science-fictiony settings or otherwise). This is more like classic Sci Fi of the 1950s but without the dated stereotypes and with up to date technology. I'm looking forward to finishing this one.

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