As often happens my wife and I find ourselves on the road for the First Sunday of Advent, returning from a family Thanksgiving reunion. My experience over a lifetime is that attendance at church is a little lean this weekend. A lot of people are away from their home parishes, but by the same token you don't often see a parish with lots of "guests," either. Travel, shopping, reunions, Ohio State-Michigan....not a lot of folks around for the blessing of the Advent wreath. As a pastor I did not go home for Thanksgiving much. We would have our Thanksgiving parish Mass at 7 PM Wednesday evening, followed by a pie social. One year, if you can imagine, the space shuttle launched at 7:01 PM. KSC was only about 30 miles away as the crow flies, so we watched the launch before I started Mass.
Tonight (Saturday) we are resting at a motel in Wytheville, VA, after about 550 miles of driving today and 600 planned for tomorrow. Wytheville is one of those great little "intersection" towns, where I-81, I-77, U.S. 11 and U.S. 52 all come together in a valley in the Shenandoah. From here it is literally straight south home through Charlotte, Columbia SC and Jacksonville. The motel is "functional" with the main perk being a popcorn machine in the lobby. But as I say, most of the folks who stop here do so to sleep. I was surprised that this motel, a national chain, is not sold out as of 6 PM, on a Thanksgiving travel day. It is a bit of a stretch to Statesville NC down the road, the next "great intersection" center.
The traffic today was heavy enough that I didn't have the leisure to compose a weekend "thought," but I did want to leave some trace of life in case this is your first visit. I anticipate we will be back on normal routine on Monday unless I eat some bad clams along the road tomorrow. In any event, I hope you are enjoying your weekend and in a position to celebrate the First Sunday of Advent.