January 8, 2022 Joy to the World! As we come to the close of the Christmas season, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, Sister Madeline shares her experience of her first Christmas in the Convent – and what a Christmas it was! We had the great fun of a snow day early in January Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room. And Heaven and nature sing. And Heaven and nature sing. And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing! This Christmas was my first Christmas in the convent, and my golly what a wonderful and blessed time it has been. I have never set up so many nativity scenes in my life. One of our newer Natitvities, made by a friend in FranceOur lovely outdoor NativityThis set graces our refectory (dining room)This year we made one shrine in the chapel, for the Holy Family to be together!The Holy Family had some new visitors this year – rabbits! Christmas Eve was filled with praying, cooking, and decorating as we awaited the celebration of Our Lord’s birth. The carols we sang before our “Midnight Mass” were beautiful and special because we sang them for Our Lord. Unfortunately, we were unable to invite anyone to come for Holy Mass because of sickness in the house. It was interesting to sing carols for half an hour before Holy Mass to prepare our own hearts and make room for Him to dwell. Being the youngest in the community, I was given the blessing to lay the baby Jesus in the manger under the altar while the sisters sang “O Come All Ye Faithful.” That was a very beautiful moment because it was so real. Truly as I was kneeling to lay Him down in the manger, the words were echoing in my heart “O come let us adore Him!” Afterwards, Mother Louise Marie gave me a gift to open, and I received my own baby Jesus and manger, made by Sister Ave Maria, for me to put in my cell. It was such a precious gift to receive. The octave was filled with games, rest, and free time which is always much appreciated. This Christmas was definitely more centered on the birth of our Savior especially since I wasn’t surrounded by distractions of shopping deals, secular Christmas movies/songs, etc. What a joy it is to celebrate the birth of our King and meditate upon how much He loves us. I pray that this Christmas season has filled your heart with great joy and peace.