The only thing of note about my Saturday was that I finally screwed up my courage to go into town and buy a new pair of winter shoes. I live in sandals eight months of the year, but don't much like the misery of a wet winter. With so much rain and wind this last week, I thought I'd better stop complaining and make the effort. On Clare's recommendation, I visited the the Ecco shop, and within minutes found just what would serve me well. A robust supportive waterproof shoe with a sturdy sole, which, given my odd sized feet, offered a perfect and extremely comfortable fit from the moment I put them on. Hardly a question of getting used to then or 'breaking them in'. They 'just worked'. I can't remember if I ever had this experience with a pair of shoes before. Perhaps I always purchased too cheap. Even so, I got a 'Black Friday' weekend bargain, and look forward to enjoying my winter wear - what an odd idea!
I celebrated the Solemn Mass at St German's again on Sunday, with a turnout of three dozen for Advent Sunday, against a background of driving wind and rain. The mood was cheerfully up-beat. There is, in spite of the solemn and serious nature of the pre-Christmas season, an element of renewed pleasure in the start of a new Christian year. It's true for me too. The first ever retreat I made as an eighteen year old student was over the Advent weekend, and it brought home the reality of the mystery of faith to me in a way that steered me into the path I still follow. Poetry, awe and wonder, longing and hopefulness, all part of a creative chemistry feeding the notion that Christmas contains more than meets the eye. I think I need Advent just as much as I need Lent, to keep me focussed on Christ.