I have a middle son, and of all my children he is the most like me, I think. He loves to read and think and process and talk about all the things he reads and thinks and processes.

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On Sunday last, my middle son and I were tourists. He is an incredible fan of history, religious history in particular (at the moment), and he’d been wanting to go to Catholic mass for quite a while. We live in a French/English community, and so finding a workable time to attend English mass had taken some time, but on Sunday morning at 9:00 we were sitting in a pew at the Cathedral, waiting for the service to begin.

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It’s a beautiful building. My son knows its history and the architectural style and that there are other churches in Europe designed by the same architect and they are the spitting image of the one in our little town. He’s studied Catholicism and he knew the priest would be wearing a purple robe because of Advent, and he whispered bits of history and tradition to me throughout the morning.

There was a little man sitting a few rows ahead and to our left, and he was our guide. He was the first to stand or kneel or sit, the first to step into the aisle when it was time to do so, the first to come and shake our hands and offer a peace be with you when it was time to shake hands and offer peace. We watched him and followed his lead, like the tourists we were, and I unobtrusively snapped a few pictures because… tourists.

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I feel like a tourist at Advent. It’s not a familiar experience; we didn’t observe it when I was growing up, but it’s a place I want to see, a journey I want to take. So I read the books and blogs to see how others do it, and I follow the leads of those ahead of me and to my left, the one’s who know what they are doing and for whom it’s all second nature.

I snap a few pictures along the way.

And like a tourist, I find the things that connect me to the experience. Being pregnant. Anticipating a child. Giving birth.

I’m a tourist at Advent, trying to act like I know when to stand or sit or kneel, and I’m stumbling a bit, but the view is still wonderful.

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