Christmas at the Convent
Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, and the season leading up to it I like almost as much.
On the night of December 16th, we begin our Christmas Novena. We process into chapel by candle light, singing advent hymns. Before Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament, we chant the old testament prophesies, sing canticles and the O Antiphons. It ends with Benediction, if we have a priest available.
Christmas Eve we finish all the decorating and baking. Evening Prayer begins the Christmas celebration. After supper we bless the Christmas tree and the nativity scene and light the Christ candle. Then we get ourselves ready for the Mass at 8:30. Some of the Sisters also go down to the Motherhouse for the Midnight Mass. They have a full crib service there before Mass, beginning at 11:40 pm. (Yes, it is really a Midnight Mass.) And after Mass they welcome every to come for a reception afterwards.
Christmas morning we begin as always with prayer, we have breakfast and open gifts and then go the Mass at our hospital Chapel. We have a main Christmas dinner after Mass. In the afternoon, some of our Sisters go out to visit our other Sisters or friends. Those who have gone to both night Masses usually go have a nap, or should I say, collapse from exhaustion. The rest is as usual on Sundays with Exposition and Benediction with Evening Prayer.