Today is the First Sunday of Advent.
This causes me to fondly remember a fellow who helped with the first RCIA series I taught.
He was an RCIA veteran, as well as being a retired firefighter. He would mildly chastise me if I forgot something important like closing the evenings with a prayer (yikes) or if I cut my baby's amazing mop of hair.
He had a charming sense of humour and loved to be of service.
When Advent came that year, he surprised me and the rest of the RCIA group by showing up with a lovely handmade Advent wreath, and kits he had put together for each of the candidates to take home and complete.
And then he presented me with the wreath he had made to show everyone.
I still have that wreath. I am not always good about having it out and ready on time, but I do always think of it...and the fellow who made it for my family.
I only taught with him for the one year. He was diagnosed with cancer over the summer and died very quickly. I suppose that was a mercy for him and for his dear wife.
Advent always brings his memory back. Rest in Peace, Ray!