Yesterday’s heavens were definitely a winter sky! It was December dark and grew darker all day as the heavy rains approached. The possible severe storms faded out though and we got only the rains—a relief. The temps were so warm in mid-70’s and broke a hundred year old record for the day. Ah, December in the Midwest!
That evening I went to a friend’s church with her. It was the third week in Advent and we both expected a solemn atmosphere emphasizing the hope and promise of the coming birth celebration of a baby Messiah. Imagine our surprise when a band with drums and guitars were in the choir loft! The music was toe-tapping and hip swaying, not your traditional hymns.
The altar had a mini-altar set up in front with a brown skinned Madonna and bright flowers, all accentuated by bright lights. The service was said in Spanish as it was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12th. I had heard much of this Madonna as my grandparents saw the original cape or tilman on a trip to Mexico in the 1960’s.
Mexico and Central America, like much of North America, were Christian by the sword and force. The story says that the Blessed Mother appeared asking for a church where her people could practice their faith. She sent a man, Juan Diego, to the local bishop with a cape folded over a bunch of roses to plead her case. When he got there, the roses had become a beautiful painting of the Madonna, a miracle. The fabric and painting still exist today and have been studied by scientists with no answer to exactly what or how it came to be painted.
So last night was a festive adoration and celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The music made us feel like dancing and that was not a bad way to exit a church and face a new week in the world!