It seems only fitting that I spend Christmas in the convent that I have devoted the last couple of months studying. Andrew and I were talking yesterday about how it something magical to attend a service in another country and I believe that magical is the right word to describe the mass at Las Descalzas. I arrived rather early because I had no clue when it started, but I figured better early than late. When I arrived the church was dimly lit with most of the light coming in through the upper windows highlighting the stone altarpiece. For me it was the perfect environment to reflect on this past year and be thankful for the multitude of blessings I have received. And of course surrounded by all the art, my mental wheels were constantly turning (proof I am not fully done with this project). A slow steady stream of people came in and out of the church, finally settling down into the pews when all of the candles were lit and the lights were tuned on. It was incredible to see the difference in this space with the additional light as the gold accents vibrantly stood out adding a sumptuous quality to the church. Many of the papers on Las Descalzas focus on the musical qualities of the building and esteemed choir and so I was rather excited to hear them today, especially since from what I understand they still sing traditional hymns. The music wafts in and out throughout the building as the different female voices blend and separate throughout the songs. With the different tonal qualities I personally found it hard to always understand what was being sung; however, I was still moved by the overall effect. Of course all of these aspects are the superfluous parts of the mass, which was also seemed to be fitting. The gospel of John today spoke about the power of the word, which began with God and was made manifest in his Son (John 1-5, 9-14). This powerful message struck my heart and has given me something to think about as I move forward this year. The streets were rather bare when I first left for mass; however, on my way home there were quite a few people bustling about. It is not a white christmas, but it has been a good one. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!