It was Christmas Eve morning; sometime before lunch.
We headed north towards Taos for Christmas,
but instead of driving straight through,
we made a few stops.
Our first stop was Santa Fe,
where we meandered the halls of the
Inn and Spa at Loretto.
The Inn and Spa at Loretto
is next to the Loretto Chapel.
This gothic chapel was commissioned by nuns.
The current site of the hotel was once a school for girls.
The rosary tree is in front of the Loretto Chapel.
The north side of the chapel was in the cold of the shadows,
with snow still on the ground.
The Santa Fe Plaza was busy!
Luminaria bags lined the walkways.
It must be a beautiful sight at night!
I posed for a photo on the stone that marks the end of the
Santa Fe Trail.
We walked past the St. Francis Cathedral
before continuing on our journey.
About half-way between Santa Fe and Taos,
there is a turn-off into the more rural areas of the mountains.
It was here that we visited the holy site of
El Sanctuario de Chimayo
This is a site of miracles, of prayers for healing,
and for thanksgiving.
Many faithful have left crosses, rosaries, or other tokens of faith.
The sanctuario was decorated for Christmas
with several Christmas wreaths, lights,
and electric luminarias.
The sanctuario has a rich history.
I visited this site last spring,
and it was much less crowded on Christmas Eve day.
Hundreds of faithful pilgrims walk to the sanctuario
on Good Friday and during Easter weekend
as a part of their practice of faith
for the risen savior; offering prayers of thanksgiving,
asking for healing, and demonstrating devotion.
As an active parish, I'm sure they also have services at Christmas
and through-out the year,
but as visitors go, it was a nice day to be quiet and reflective.
After our stops in Santa Fe and Chimayo,
it was time to continue on to Taos and our Christmas Eve dinner.
by late morning it was time to get and go for a drive.
We visited the historic
San Francisco de Asis mission church
in Ranchos de Taos.
More luminarias lined the adobe walls.
It was really cold out.
My little hands started to get a little too cold,
and so I was happy when the rest of drive
was done from inside the car!
We hope that all of our friends,
near and far,
had a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season!