I am not certain exactly when the idea occurred to us, but this past week, Adrien and I celebrated our anniversary with a quick trip to Paris. Nevermind that I now have a deeper understanding of my immigrant grandfather’s voyage to the new world after spending 12 hours on planes without being able to wiggle! Airline to remain anonymous.
We planned this trip to coincide with Christmas and so, we did as many tourists and some Parisians do – we went to Mass at Notre Dame cathedral. 2012 marks the 850th anniversary of the cathedral; I couldn’t help but wonder at that thought – that 850 years earlier people stood in this same spot to celebrate Christmas.
The giant pipe organ, bellowed the strains of Adeste Fideles while we waited
for the procession. Soon the start of Mass was signaled by the sweet smell of incense, a smell of unmistakable intensity. A young boy carefully carried the Christ child in procession, and with a cue from the priest, gently laid Him in the empty creche, a tradition that is repeated in many Christian churches across the world. And so, the first Mass at Christmas began.
And after Mass, we made our way through the mixed crowd leaving Notre Dame and those awaiting the beginning of the next Mass to the far edges, roped off in some hope of making order of the chaos.