Guest Bloggers
Charlotte Hays is on leave until December 1. Beliefnet has asked some of the most respected and popular conservative Catholic bloggers and writers to fill in during her absence. Please check back every day for the next two weeks to read a new guest blogger.

Amy Welborn is the author of many books, including "De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code" and "The Words We Pray: Discoveringthe Richness of Traditional Catholic Prayer." She is also general editor of the forthcoming "Loyola Classics" series of reprint editions of great Catholicliterary and popular fiction, beginning with "Mr. Blue" by Myles Connolly in February 2005, from Loyola Press. She has blogged since 2001, presently atOpen Book.

Advent Food for Thought

This past Sunday, Christians pulled out their purple and pink candles and commenced four weeks of singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

Yes, it's Advent.

Like anything else, Advent resources and reflections abound on the Internet, but I stumbled upon one this morning that gave me more than the usual food forthought, and not just because I birthed my own baby 11 days ago, assisted by a midwife. It's from the blog of Alicia, a Catholic midwife from parts up north, I believe, who says, among other interesting things today:

Being a midwife means spending a lot of time seemingly doing nothing, simply waiting on the baby and helping the mom cope. If I have done my job well, I will seem to be unnecessary. If I have helped a mom to stayhealthy during her months as a lady-in-waiting, her hours of labor will be more manageable. I think that God has given us the equivalent of midwives to help usprepare for the coming of our Messiah - He has given us the sacraments and the priests to minister them to us. We are cleansed by Penance, fed by Eucharist,healed through both these sacraments and also through the Anointing of the sick.
Something to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving may be past, but the time for giving thanks isn't--and never should be.

The National Catholic Reporter's Washington correspondent, Joe Feuerherd, gives thanks for his lateparents in this moving tribute, evoking the strength of a good marriage to endure through changes, pain and sorrow. And to teach a few lessons as well:
Twenty-two Thanksgivings ago, their 19-year-old son, a marginally-performing college sophomore with few visible prospects, informed Vic and Lil that heplanned to marry the young lady with whom he was in love. Their response, amazingly in retrospect, was unconditional support (a reaction the now 41-year-old father of three teenagers and his wife of 21 years wonder if they could replicate). They understood the desire to build a life together.
Something to offer thanks for, to be sure.