There is something beautiful about this Advent time of year, with the lighting of the Advent candles, the hopeful images from Isaiah of “on that day” which point to some future time – when, the prophet does not say – of God providing and fulfilling “on that day.” And stories of strange announcements from On High to ordinary people going about their lives – the annunciation story of Mary, who one day at home receives a visit from an angel who has important news to share with her, and her courageous response “let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary as open to receiving the holy in her life, and Mary as bold in responding to that call.
Christmas is now a week and a half away, and sometimes people ask about which Mass to attend. Each has its own feel: Christmas Eve afternoon is very crowded, especially so at 3:00pm with 3 Masses going on at the same time. 5:30, with two Masses, is still crowded, but tends to be less so. After that – 9:00pm and midnight on Christmas Eve – the crowds are not as big, and Christmas Day itself is not overwhelming with crowds.