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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reliving Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve day was amazing. We took our time getting ready and got up a little later because we were preparing for the late night and long day ahead. When we finally left the apartment we headed to the metro and the Vatican where we had been the night before.
We made our tour of the Vatican museum. The Catholic Church is considered a culture or people group and they have enormous wealth. The museum had statues and famous paintings. You could tell if they were created before the pope of modesty or after by the tactfully placed fig leaf. I think it was more distracting than doing its job. I love art museums
We saved the best for last. The Sistine chapel. Make an in awe face and you will know what it felt like to walk in. Have you been there? It is worth it! I love that I can appreciate the art and the huge sacrifice and effort it took to paint that ceiling. What a legacy that Michelangelo left. It also helped that I have knowledge of the Bible to fully understand the panels and sequence. I love that it wasn’t perfect.

The museum closed in preparation as we were finishing. It was setting up the anticipation of the night for me. We stopped at a little restaurant and ate a big lunch {at 3pm} to be used as lunch and dinner. After our meal we rounded the corner and found the line for the Christmas Eve Mass. It was already quite long and it was about 4.15pm when we got in line.
Throughout the in line process we made friends with the Canadian couple behind us and the English couple behind them. And then there was an American couple behind them that had taught at the Danish Institute. In front of us were a mother and two daughters from Poland. The daughters were so sweet and talked with us about their schooling system and how excited that they were to be here for this service. In front of them was a group of the men of the cloth. We met the family and couple in front of them as well. We made lots of friends!

This networking turned out to be crucial for us getting into the building as a unit. So many people cut in line. The nuns and the older people are the worst. I hope that I do not ever feel that I am entitled to something in that way. It is amazing to me that people who call themselves Christians {and yes they claim that they are Christians, they were asked} would be willing to cheat and lie to get into the basilica for mass.

During the line process we ate snacks and switched off to go the bathroom and changed clothes. We had quite the system going on. And then it was time 4.5 hours later to be like herded cattle going through the gates to get through security and hopefully {although it seemed highly likely by our place in line} to make it to seats in the basilica.

We made it and had good seats. We sat next to our new polish friends and could see the Pope as he floated down the aisle {no, he was not a bride, but I realized it sounded like that}. The entire service I could see the Pope and his address was done so well. He had people of many nations read passages from the bible. There was French, English, Portuguese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Spanish and few others. The basilica was lit up even more brightly than the day before. Half the service was sung by the choir in Latin. It’s amazing how close the Latin and Italian are so I could understand most of the service.After the service ended it was already officially Christmas in Italy! We walked home through Rome’s streets and got to see all kinds of fun lights hung through the main part of town. It was a late night but what an experience!
What is something that you would give up Christmas with your family to have the opportunity to do or experience? Would you give up Christmas?

*There are no pics of me because they were taken on my friend's camera. She also has a closer picture of the Pope that I will share with you when I can.

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