Blessed Christmas from Ecuador. May the Joy and Love of the Word made Flesh be with you all in abundance and remain with you throughout the New Year.
The Sisters send their greetings along with me. They are so happy to be linked with Mepkin and offer up so much prayer for the good of all of you and your families.
There is no such thing as a White Christmas here in Esmeraldas, a seacoast city a few miles north of the equator. Usually it was never super cold at Mepkin, certainly no snow. But this is a different animal altogether. Just a week before Christmas and it is 90 degrees outside (about the same inside, as the windows are all open since we do not have air conditioning).
This first Christmas in Ecuador is proving to be a real blessing. Advent is truly split into two parts, as the liturgy calls for. Before December 17 and from December 17 to Christmas. Many, many crèches were set up on the 16th (but without the baby Jesus in them) and the music in the liturgy took a major step forward. Some beautiful and haunting melodies, especially for the O Antiphons.
I look forward to Christmas Day itself and the days following up to the Baptism of the Lord.
Here are some photos to give you a feel for this wonderful community of Trappistine nuns where I am so privileged to minister.