Advent has begun, the “short but sweet” preparation for Christmas, the celebration of the Birth of the Redeemer, Christ the Lord.

We have an Advent wreath, photographed below, prominently displayed in our refectory, the place where we take our daily meals. For each of the four succeeding weeks of Advent, one of the four candles of the wreath is lit.

Behind the wreath is the beautiful mural on the eastern wall in our refectory. A portion of the mural appears in today’s photo. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Juan Diego and Saint Francis of Assisi seem to be eargerly processing toward “the One Who comes to save us,” Jesus Christ.

Our prayers and greetings for all in this great Advent season. May the frenzy that often accompanies preparations for “the holidays,” as they have come to be called, be set aside as best we can, and focus be placed on spiritual aspirations. We might just have a merrier Christmas if we do.

Abbot Christian and the monks