Tuesday, December 20, 2016

St. Nicholas Eve and Day

One of my greatest St. Nicholas gifts this year
came in the form of conversations. 
First, St. Nicholas Eve, at Vigil,
a woman who I have known in passing for years
told me that my writing on Conciliar Post is really 
meaningful to her; that was encouraging to hear, as I 
often am writing with a feeling of great struggle and sense of 
futility in terms of what I am writing. 
Second, one of the White Sisters who serve with the 
church for St. Nicholas vigil and liturgy.
It was wonderful to talk with her at the lunch after liturgy.
I was able to tell her how I had talked with others, both
a Nun who I learned is now an Abbess of a convent about 200 miles from the
St. Elizabeth Convent, and a White Sister when I still lived in Ottawa.
I told the newly met White Sister N. that I have a small icon of the Mother of God
above my sink in the kitchen and that I have a small beautiful box that I got from
them years ago, as well as CDs that I still listen to today.
She and I discussed how our lives are unique, to put it in my words,
that each person has their own path; she talked about her spiritual father
telling her (and I think others) that one must not go a certain way
(even to monasticism) if one does not feel an inner urge to do so...
that each person comes to a place a different way and it 
was encouraging, it felt like a confirmation of my life here,
4 years in, to marriage and service in the Church here. 
I often experience this gift most when I am talking with a
monastic or someone closely aligned to a monastery, a sense of being
lifted out of my blinded perceptions in my daily life and seeing a higher
'tree top' view that shows me that where I am and what I am doing
is God's Providence for me.
So that was a very great and encouraging gift, one that I know
is there to strengthen me, one that I also know is a miracle, 
such times are not always plentiful, 
we have to slog away a long time often before we are given
encouragement to keep on with it.
But yet God is merciful and gives us such times.
I am already aware of the next year, as I plan for Christmas,
I see Lent and the Cross; it's an early Lent this year,
which means a longer Apostles fast in the summer.
I am thankful for the St. Nicholas gift from my Husband of
the cookbook I got and that I got also, from a recent book sale,
some new cookbooks that will also help with fasting foods.
We got some special gifts this year for St. Nicholas Day;
the spoons, a faux pearl necklace (gotten at a Market in Maastricht very cheap),
a Delft ornament, a nice red handkerchief for me (I love red!) and an enjoyable 
book for Mr. Husband! Everything but the books
are from our trip to Holland; I wanted to wait to enjoy them
as gifts for this special season! 
I also got my first birthday card, from a dear friend in Ottawa,
and it's in French! I love it very much!!!
I am about to have visits with family and friends as we go towards
Christmas...so if I don't blog again for a bit,
I want to wish everyone here, esp. those on the new calendar,
a blessed and Merry Christmas!
Christ is born! Glorify Him!


October Rose said...

Hello Elizabeth! :) I've been pretty quiet on social media lately but I just wanted to pop by and say I still read and enjoy your blog and seeing glimpses into your thoughts and life. It is always such a gift when we are given encouragement about where we find ourselves in life in the present moment!

Enjoy your time with family and friends!

GretchenJoanna said...

The picture of the front doors of your church - I love it! So charming and bright. He is the LIGHT of the world, and St. Nicholas was wonderful carrier of that light, too. Also it reminds me of the front doors of another church - I will send you a photo!

elizabeth said...

thank you Oct Rose!!! Yes! will do! G-J: thank you! YES!! so much so!!!

Paula said...

What wonderful St. Nicholas presents (real and the conversations). Sometimes it's hard when you're stuck in the day-to-day stuff to see how important and Godly your job is. Your church is so beautiful. Makes me smile every time you post pictures.

Send some prayers my way -it's nothing serious, it's just a conversation I have to have with Ella that I wasn't planning on having for another year or so :( I need some 'encouragement'.

Have a very blessed Christmas.


Emmie said...

I am so glad you have had these meaningful conversations, they make the world of difference. And for me your writing is such a subtle and gentle beauty. Necessary and definitely not futile. I have read your blog for years and hope to continue for more! It is a healing and honest space.

elizabeth said...

Thanks Emmie! It is my essay writing that I find to be quite difficult at times and can give me this sense, not usually this blog, which is written quickly and is more "in the moment" ...

Gloriade said...

Hello Elizabeth, it's always so good to be able to just spend time with people face to face, connecting and feeling connected. I was encouraged by your beautiful table settings to use my china for Christmas Day. You must stop by and see what you inspired when you come back to your blog. All blessings to you during this blessed and joyful season.