Not only did I not go outdoors today, I did not even stick my nose out the door, taking for granted what everyone told me, that is, it feels winter like and, fearing that I might fall or catch the sniffles, I stayed close to the hearth [not that we even have one in the cottage]. This undoubtedly is the first Nativity Eve service I have missed in 45 or even 50 years. I was glad that Elena and Try came all the way from Olympia, Washington, for the service, and they will head for home immediately after the service. Now that is what I call dedication, when people will drive hours to attend a service and drive back home in the middle of the night.  Once again, many, many thanks to all of you who made your Nativity contributions, as this is what keeps the monastery chugging along. A moment ago I could hear the monastery bells ringing out their joyous announcement of the beginning of the evening service, much the way it must have sounded in the days of Saint Sergey of Radonezh.

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