Christmas Day is only the beginning of the Christmas Season! With all the stuff of the secular Christmas on sale or gone home to the basement, we Catholic Christians are only just beginning to celebrate this great feast.
The Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28th, is a day to remember innocent people who are enslaved, gone missing, murdered. Who are the Holy Innocents being slaughtered today, literally and figuratively? You and your family might fast from eating Christmas goodies this day, or keep dark the Christmas lights as you pray for the Holy Innocents—young or old—of every generation. Rejoice in the sacrifices so many made in making the Advent Crib such a great success that assists single mothers and their babies.
December 30th is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. There are many ways of being family these days. From a mom and dad with five children and a grandmother, to a blended family, to persons gathering with friends, one thing is common: love. When Joseph received a message from God in a dream, he rose in the middle of the night, woke Mary, then, because the life of the baby Jesus was in danger, took off for Egypt. Today, think and talk about sacrifices people make. What did Joseph, Mary, Jesus have to sacrifice 21 centuries ago? What have your parents, children, grandparents, and friends sacrificed for you? Thank someone for making a sacrifice for you. Have you made a Christmas resolution to go to more daily Masses or come and visit Our Lord in the tabernacle? Then, Go.
New Year’s Eve is always celebrated boisterously, but in the quiet of New Year’s Day, we might pray for peace and remember Mary, the Mother of God, who treasured the miracles of Jesus’ birth: shepherds’ visit, Magi’s gold, prophecies, signs, and skies full of angels. Today, tell of the births of family members, then enjoy your family treasures: turn the pages of old photo albums, unfold birth certificates, and hold baby blankets. Then invite friends and families in for Open House—all generations eating and playing together, not in separate rooms, maybe with the TV off for an hour!—welcoming in a New Year of Grace: 2017.
Feast of the Epiphany, January 8th, is a rich and noble feast! Take out the fine china and crystal! Make gold crowns for everyone to wear! Give a small gift or make a long distance call to someone not expecting one. Light a sweet-smelling candle to represent the Magi’s gift of frankincense. What stars have you followed? The Lord is with you on that journey!
(from Psalm 97)
The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory.
Light dawns for the just; and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the Lord, you just, and give thanks to his holy name.