An Awesome Advent And Christmas ~ Rosary Cathedral, Frankenmuth, Visiting Friends, Lights ~ Beautiful Pictures!

What an amazing pre-Christmas week or two I have been enjoying, filled with visiting old friends, new spaces and new places.  I don't care what anyone says about Christmas, including other Christians, I so enjoy celebrating the Christmas holidays.  It doesn't have to be about commercialism and stress filled hectic schedules.  It can be an ideal balance of being in this world, while also remembering that at some day ~ whether or not it was December 25 ~ Christ our savior was born.  For so many people to be in a worshipful celebration at the same time is part of the magic of this time of year, at least for me.  

In our ongoing search for truth, we came across some intriguing videos on YouTube (and Bitchute) displaying the incredibly majestic cathedrals from around the world.  One woman's channel (Exploring Tartaria) in particular has only a handful of videos, but the imagery is mesmerizing.  The detail, artistry and majesty of these great cathedrals causes one pause, questioning Who? How?  When? and How long did they take to build?  There is no comparison to this day.  From my observations, architecture became more austere, angular and  downright drab in modern times.

After watching the videos, for which I'll share one of them below, I became obsessed with visiting a cathedral.  Thankfully, we have a beautiful Rosary Cathedral right here in the Toledo, OH area.  

The highlights of my last couple weeks actually began with an unexpected opportunity to visit an old acquaintance / friend from high school and his girlfriend who were passing through from way the UP in MI to the Southeast.  I say 'acquaintance' only because we didn't know each other in high school, but began to connect online over the last couple years, at the time our 40th high school reunion which never happened was originally scheduled in 2020.  Don and I had such a great time visiting with them both.  Such a treat to connect with new old friends, and such great people!

So great to finally meet up with an old high school friend and meet 
his girlfriend.  Sylvania, OH was all lit up!

A day or so later, I took my mom to visit the Rosary Cathedral, something I had tried to get to previously, but kept running out of time.  They have visiting hours until 4:00.  I felt so elated to finally make it there.  It's so awe inspiring to see such beauty and majesty, especially when the artistry tells the most incredible story of a God manifesting in the physical to redeem and save us from death.  There is far more to this story, suffice it to say that when one opens their heart, the full breadth of it is truly stunning, and can bring you to your knees.  Walking around and seeing the images of all the saints, and the characters of the Bible come to life is definitely captivating!  Nearly like visiting another world!  

I was so mesmerized, and felt such a sense of bliss, I nearly burst!

Walking around the Rosary Cathedral,  one can't help but be engulfed by such a presence of love.  The love of Jesus, Son of God who came to Earth and endured an immense passion / persecution ~ because God loves us so much.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it!  He continues to transform my once stony, questioning / doubting heart.  The love I feel for Jesus grows and grows.  Not that long ago, I believed in God, but was not very warm on religion, and unclear what to believe about Jesus.  I'm immensely grateful for His patience with me!

Another recent high point of this Christmas and Advent season was a (sort of surprise) visit to Frankenmuth, MI, a German / Bavarian village filled with delights to discover.  It happened to be a sunny day, perfect for walking all around exploring this fun and beautiful town.  

I once again was on cloud nine, feeling like a Princess as we explored, sang and swayed to the carols played at the central town Christmas tree, walked over the covered bridge along the river walk, and visited unique shops.  The white chocolate mint latte I had once we arrived didn't hurt either!  The perfect, slightly sweet with a hint of mint hot beverage to sip on as we strolled the streets.

Earlier this week, I went back to the Rosary Cathedral to enjoy a Christmas concert with Don.  Twice in a short span of time I was able to enjoy gazing at the incredible detail of the carved wood, paintings and stained glass.  The concert was well attended.  It's a joy to listen, and a joy when the attendees could also stand and sing along.

The pews filled by the time the concert started.  Such a treat to be among
other believers, singing in the presence of such awe-inspiring beauty of the Rosary Cathedral!

A lot of free time was spent making and baking several treats to enjoy ~ mostly to share ~ which was another highlight.  I made Date Walnut Cookies, Date Chocolate Truffles, and Dried Fruit Truffles.  Don made traditional Hungarian Walnut Rolls as well, in memory of his mom, Ruth, who baked them every year for many years to give away to others.  

I brought a bunch of cookies and some apple cider to my mom's residence, and served them all in their respective living rooms after they finished dinner.  Such a delight to spread joy to these sweet seniors, some of whom may not see a lot of visitors.

I enjoyed helping the residents where mom lives decorate their tree and 
sing carols with other family visitors

On one very rainy evening, we decided to visit a local Kris Kringle Town, a very creative yard filled with various light displays and shed or hut-like rooms to visit, with a roaring fire in the middle.  We were the only ones there at that time, as it had only just stopped raining, miraculously while we were out there walking around.  They put cookies and hot chocolate out for weekend visitors in the various hut displays.

Decorating with lights all around, and our humble little Christmas tree also brings me joy, as has attending local mass services.  We are not Catholic, although considering going through the RCIA, as we learn about  Catholicism listening to various Catholic teachers online.  This has opened an entirely new treasure box of information, with very differing perspectives on Christianity.  They make valid claims to being the original true church of Christ, founded upon the rock of St. Peter, the first Bishop of Rome.  Still exploring and enjoying all that we are learning!

Of course the battles between Catholicism and Protestantism ~ and secular world views ~ continues.  All I know at the end of the day is that I absolutely love Christmas.  It's a season of shining the light onto the darkness.

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." ~John 1:5

So far, I've come to really enjoy attending Catholic mass, although I wish we were near a traditional Latin Mass.  When attending, I immediately sense a dissolution of the individual self, or ego, while merging with something greater.  The readings and messages are always unifying and all embracing.  I feel such peace when there, and for hours afterwards. 

Every Catholic Mass given nearly hourly, and daily somewhere will be sharing the same daily readings.  Being surrounded by fellow lovers of Christ and the celebration of the Christmas Advent season has been incredibly heart warming.

I don't believe Christians are not supposed to celebrate Christmas, the celebration of our Lord and Savior.  Only the enemy of Christianity attempts to deceive and pull people further from God, twisting and turning and deceiving at every turn.  Having a Christmas tree in your home that you decorate is not the same as carving idols out of wood and worshipping the wooden idol. 

Catholics celebrate the advent all month, culminating in Christmas beginning on Christmas day, rather than ending.  

There's still time to enjoy the reason for the season, the birth of Christ, bringing light unto the world!

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