Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone! God Bless You All!!!

Hey all,

I hope you all had a great Christmas. It’s such a special time of year, filled with fun and family. But this year was a little different for us. Since we were in Paris, things were very different indeed.

Last year in Macau we were able to Skype with our kids, but here in Paris our internet is SOOOO bad we can even use it. So the best we could do was send a note and a text on the blessed day. It’s the first time I’ve ever been completely incommunicado with my babies and it was pretty hard on me.

But Jonathon knew and set out to make the holiday special. We had a wonderful time just the two of us. While he had to work Christmas Eve day, he got off early enough that we could go do something special.  Something I was hoping we could do from the time I knew we were going to be in Paris.

We started off with a great meal at a sidewalk café. Even though it was cold outside, we sat under the heat lamps so we could people watch. We started out with a sweet aperitif and some of their delicious bread. Then we had a quiche and salad which were both some of the best I’ve tasted.

The main dish was next. We shared beef bourguignon over rice. (awesome) And then something we really wanted to try. Cheese fondue. Three different cheese and wine, eaten with bread and potatoes. I’ve got to tell you…that whole Velveeta thing I grew up with? After eating real fondue, I’ll NEVER do it the Velveeta way again. EVER!!!

Desert was equally good. Crème Brulee (naturally). And chocolate mousse. Wow. It was a delicious way to end the meal.

Of course we had wine. A perfect rose that we’d never tried before. A glass wasn’t enough. We shared a bottle and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And then on to what I was truly looking forward to. Something to feed my heart and my spirit. Though I had to share it with about a gazillion others, it was worth it.

Christmas Midnight Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Now, please understand, I’m not Catholic. In fact I don’t have a specific organized religion. I’m just a believer. I’ve attended services at Westminster Abbey and been blessed by a Mayan holy man in Belize.  I’ve heard mass said at Saint Paul’s in London and listened to a Hindu Shiva (is that right?) being sung in Nepal. Each religion has it’s own message and I’ve learned a little something from each of them.

But I love Notre Dame. I’ve been to the church before—even sang there as a young girl—and it’s always been special to me. Even after three times in Paris I find myself going back again and again. The age, the architecture, the inspiration I get just walking around. I just adore it. So when the opportunity came for me to experience a midnight mass at Christmas time, I didn’t mind standing in line with the thousands of others who also wanted the experience.

And it wasn’t so bad. Everyone was in a good mood and they had a big screen out in the square for those who couldn’t get in. We queued up and were finally showed in after it had started. The music was beautiful and though I couldn’t understand the Cardinal who gave the sermon (it was in French) it didn’t really matter. My spirit was fed and that was what counted most.

The people standing around me murmured amen and sang along with the choir and I counted myself fortunate that I was able to be a part of such a moving ceremony.

It was a lovely Christmas Eve and a blessed way to start our Christmas day. It might not have been the family Christmas I was used to but in it’s own special way it was just as beautiful and lovely as any we’ve done in the past.

I'll be back with more about...just stuff later this week!
Hugs to all,



Maria D. said...

Sounds like you had a great time!

Carrie said...

sounds like a lot of fun. Wishing you the best for the new year.

Phylis said...

*sigh* Even though I'm not hungry, you had me wanting to eat by the time you got done describing your meal. Yummy! Everything sounded so wonderful CJ! Thanks for sharing your Christmas with us.