Skip to comments.The Days of Christmastide -- more than twelve!
Posted on 12/25/2009 9:45:16 PM PST by Salvation
The purest of Virgins gave us our God, who was this day born of her, clothed in the flesh of a Babe, and she was found worthy to feed him at her Breast: let us all adore Christ, who came to save us.
Ye faithful people, let us all rejoice, for our Savior is born in our world: this Day there has been born the Son of the great Mother, and she yet a pure Virgin.
O Queen of the world, and Daughter of a kingly race! Christ has risen from thy womb, as a Bridegroom coming from the bride-chamber: He that rules the stars lies in a Crib. Antiphon from the ancient Church of Gaul
Fun ping — liturgy ping — saint ping — recipe ping — and more!
An excellent introduction to the Christmas season and celebrations in the "Domestic Church" is found in the following excerpts from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (on theVatican web site). Links to resources on our web site are provided.
106. During Christmastide, the Church celebrates the mystery of the Lord's manifestation: His humble birth in Bethlehem which was made known to the shepherds, the first of Israel to welcome the Savior; the Epiphany to the three wise men who had "come from the East" (Mt 2:1), the first of the Gentiles who recognized and adored Christ the Messiah in the child of Bethlehem; the theophany at the river Jordan in which the Father declares that Jesus is His "well-beloved Son" (Mt 3:17) at the outset of His messianic mission; the miracle of Cana in which Jesus "manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11).
107. In addition to these celebrations recalling the primary meaning of Christmas, there are also other celebrations closely connected with the mystery of the Lord's manifestation: the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents (December 28) whose blood was shed because of hatred for Jesus and because of Herod's rejection of His lordship; the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus, January 13; the feast of the Holy Family (Sunday in the octave of Christmas) celebrating the holy family in which Jesus "grew in wisdom and grace before God and men" (Lk 2:52); the solemnity of January 1, which recalls the divine, virginal and salvific motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, although outside of Christmastide, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2), celebrating the encounter between the Messiah and His people, represented by Simeon and Anna, and the prophecy of Simeon.
108. Much of the richness and complexity of the mystery of the Lord's manifestation is reflected in displays of popular piety, which is especially sensitive to the childhood of Christ which reveals His love for us. Popular piety intuitively grasps:
Popular piety, precisely because it can intuit the values inherent in the mystery of Christ's birth, is called upon to cooperate in preserving the memory of the manifestation of the Lord, so as to ensure that the strong religious tradition surrounding Christmas is not secularized by consumerism or the infiltration of various forms of neopaganism.
109. In the space of time between the first Vespers of Christmas and Midnight Mass, both the tradition of Christmas carols, which are potent means of conveying the Christmas message of peace and joy, and popular piety propose certain forms of prayers, differing from country to country, which should be cherished and, where necessary, made consonant with the celebration of the Liturgy: These would include:
110. Where possible, the Church desires that the faithful should prepare for the celebration of Midnight Mass on December 24 with the Office of Readings. Where such is not possible, it may be opportune to arrange a vigil of hymns, readings, and elements drawn from popular piety.
111. At Midnight Mass, an event of major liturgical significance and of strong resonance in popular piety, the following could be given prominence:
Saint Stephen is the first martyr of the Church, and is the patron of stonemasons, masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. His story comes from the Acts of the Apostles. He is usually pictured in deacon's vestments, holding the symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand, to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos meaning "wreath."
"If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ He who was the world's outstanding Martyr." Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.
A blessed Christmastide to you.
Someone tried to wish me Happy New Year today and I replied that it was still Christmastide.
They looked at me like they did not understand.......oh, well.
Ah, the Feast of Stephen. One of my favorite Christmas Carols is “Good King Wenceslas”.
40 days to the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas). I don’t think we’ll keep the tree up that long, what with the catz, and the baby about to crawl.
My oldest son’s Confirmation name is Vaclav (Wenceslaus). He was a young soldier-prince, sort of a Prince Caspian figure.
Today is the feast day of the Holy Family, but also every family's feast day, since the Holy Family is the patron and model of all Christian families. Today should be a huge family feast, since it is devoted entirely to the Holy Family as a model for the Christian family life. As Rev. Edward Sutfin states:
"The children must learn to see in their father the foster-father St. Joseph, and the Blessed Mother as the perfect model for their own mother. The lesson to be learned is both practical and theoretical, in that the children must learn how to obey and to love their parents in thought, word and action, just as Christ was obedient to Mary and Joseph. Helping mother in the kitchen and in the house work, and helping father in his odd jobs about the home thus take on a new significance by being performed in a Christ-like spirit." (True Christmas Spirit, ©1955, St. Meinrad Archabbey, Inc.)
I didn’t even know that Vaclav was a version of Wenceslas!
I didn’t, either, until I read a piece in the “Voice of the Martyrs” newsletter at the time Bill was looking for a Confirmation name. He’d said he wanted a military figure, and it seemed like a good choice, a gallant young man not much older than 15. And we were able to bring in Vaclav Havel and Vaclav Klaus, the founders of the post-Communist Czech Republic.
Of course, St. Vaclav ended up losing - killed by his stepmother and half-brother - but life is like that sometimes.
The Holy Innocents saved the Child Jesus from death by King Herod by the shedding of their own blood. The Holy Innocents are the special patrons of small children, who can please the Christ Child by being obedient and helpful to parents, and by sharing their toys and loving their siblings and playmates.
The feast of the Holy Innocents is an excellent time for parents to inaugurate the custom of blessing their children. From the Ritual comes the form which we use on solemn occasions, such as First Communion. But parents can simply sign a cross on the child's forehead with the right thumb dipped in holy water and say: May God bless you, and may He be the Guardian of your heart and mindthe Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Given the tempo of the liturgical season with its feasts it is easy to overlook that one saint who for many centuries was, after Mary and Joseph, the most venerated person in European Christendom.
St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury was assassinated in his cathedral on December 29, 1170 because of his opposition to his former friend, King Henry II of England, who was encroaching on the liberties of the English Church.
Devotion to him spread like wildfire. He was enshrined in the hearts of men, and in their arts. In statues and stained glass, in song and story this good bishop was everywhere to be found: France, Italy, Spain, Sweden. Many miracles were attributed to his heavenly advocacy. Excerpted from Days of the Lord
Great guy, St. Thomas, in his way. The movie makes it much more political than I think is realistic.
The Catholic homeschool group here did caroling at nursing homes before Christmas. We couldn’t participate because we were too busy with choir work in our parish. I’m going to suggest, next year, that we do it in the season of Christmas. They might get more participation, since most families don’t hold school between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
That sounds like a great suggestion — and the residents of the nursing homes would still love it.
God is your beatitude. The things of time are toys. You are eternity's child and your eternity has already begun! There is a compelling urgency to every day and every hour of the day. In it we are to witness to the truth that God greeted and gifted us at Christmas.
If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ He who was the world's outstanding Martyr. Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.
The last day of the year is also the feast of St. Sylvester bishop of Rome in 314. Constantine gave him the Lateran Palace, which became the cathedral church of Rome. Many legends exist about Sylvester. He supposedly cured Constantine from leprosy and later baptized him on his deathbed.
New Year's Eve, along with its innocent gaiety, is really a day for serious reflection. On the eve of the civil New Year the children may join their parents in a holy hour, in prayer and thanksgiving for the gifts and benefits which God has given them in the past year, and to pray for necessary graces in the forthcoming civil year.
Although New Year's Day is not celebrated by the Church, this day has been observed as a holy day of obligation since early times due to the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Each family and country has different traditional foods to eat on New Year's Day, with lentils being the main superstition: ill luck befalling those who do not eat lentils at the beginning of the year.
New Year's is a day of traditional hospitality, visiting and good cheer, mostly with a secular view, but there is no reason that this day, too, could not be sanctified in Christ.
I had a traditional Nap With Baby today. I need to complete the Changing of the Calendars before I go to bed. Someone’s wandered off with my finishing-nails.
In celebrating the feasts of St. Basil of Caesarea and St. Gregory Nazianzen on the same day, the Church extols a virtue which she has always esteemed, friendship. The friendship between Basil and Gregory was admirable. Born in Cappadocia around 330, they studied together in Athens and then returned to their homeland where they led a monastic life for several years. Their temperaments were very different. While Basil had the qualities of a leader and a gift for organization that made him a legislator for monks in the East, Gregory was a contemplative and a poet.
The Orthodox Church has placed Basil and Gregory with John Chrysostom in the first rank of ecumenical doctors. They are "the three Hierarchs." Excerpted from Magnificat, PO Box 91, Spencerville, MD © 2001
Epiphany is a large celebration, especially in Spanish speaking countries. Things look different around the household: the infant Jesus in the manger now has a small gold crown and is wearing regal robes. The figures of the wise men have reached Bethlehem, completing the nativity scene.
The Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home on this day probably originated from these words in the Gospel, "And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him." The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father of the family may do so.
Good idea! I'm sure the week between Christmas and New Years must be pretty dull, since everyone crowds caroling in before Christmas.
Before we started our remodel, several years ago, we had a Twelfth Night Party every year, and I always got Mardi Gras decorations, beads, etc. Folks around here don't celebrate it.
Since the living room is piled with packed boxes, we can't have more than 6 or 8 folks over at a time, cause that's all we have room for in our kitchen and den right now. I doubt seriously we'll have it cleaned out by THIS Mardi Gras, and I truly hope that by NEXT Mardi Gras, we'll be living back down in MS, where they know from Mardi Gras!
I didn’t realize this about the connection with Epiphany and Ash Wednesday — the beginning of Lent. Wow!
At the nursing homes, I imagine there’s a real let-down after Christmas Day, and the residents would appreciate visitors. My husband has been wanting to do standard Christmas carols in Spanish translation, but we didn’t get much opportunity at church this year, the way the calendar fell. Before next year, I’ll find out where the nursing homes are for Spanish-speaking folks, and we can take our band, and maybe some of the people from our congregation, for singing in the Christmas season, up to Epiphany.
Elizabeth Seton was born on August 28, 1774, of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family. She was baptized in the Episcopal faith and was a faithful adherent of the Episcopal Church until her conversion to Catholicism.
She established her first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808; in 1809, she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. After seeing the expansion of her small community of teaching sisters to New York and as far as St. Loius, she died on January 4, 1821, and was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. She is the first native born American to be canonized a saint.
We have several books about St. Elizabeth Ann: for obvious reasons, she’s very popular at the Seton School, from whom we buy a lot of our curriculum. DP and I tried to go to the Shrine at Emmitsburg once, when we were visiting my parents in D.C., but we got lost and went to Manassas instead.
Nice museum in Manassas, and excellent antique shops for Civil War people.
John Neumann was born in Bohemia on March 20, 1811. Since he had a great desire to dedicate himself to the American missions, he came to the United States as a cleric and was ordained in New York in 1836 by Bishop Dubois.
In 1840, John Neumann entered the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists). He labored in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In 1852, he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia. There he worked hard for the establishment of parish schools and for the erection of many parishes for the numerous immigrants. Bishop Neumann died on January 5, 1860; he was beatified in 1963.
Brother André spent most of his days in a narrow lodge, with only a table, some chairs and a bench as furnishings. He was attentive to the needs of all, smiling, obliging. In the evening he would engage in the difficult work of maintaining the parlor and hallway floors. He was on his knees until late at night, washing, polishing, and waxing by the dim light of a candle. Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval
The use of candles is one of the loveliest Christmas customs that we can keep on using throughout the year. Now, more than ever, Christmas is a festival of light in a dark world, a time to hold our candles high, and to teach our children all the little ceremonies which make life gracious and full of meaning. No matter how long we live, nor how learned we become, we may travel the world over, and find nothing more beautiful than candlelight on the face of a child. "Now the Lord be thanked because we have light." Dorothy Albaugh Stickell
Making candles is a great idea. We can do some experimentation, and then I can have the homeschool association Middle School Girls over before Easter, maybe.
If we made all these recipes, I’d be HUGH!
Making candles is fun! I used to save all the good waxy crayons that were all broken up to color them. Some of the crayons now, though, are worthless for this endeavor.
St. Raymond devoted much of his life to helping the poor. The famous incident which is recounted in the story of Raymond's life took place when he went with King James to Majorca. The King dismissed Raymond's request to return home. Relying on his faith and love of God, Raymond walked on the waves to his ship, spread his cloak to make a sail, made the sign of the cross then sailed to the distant harbor of Barcelona.
For St. Raymond's feast we should remember that, "carolling and story telling belong to the whole Christmas season. Hospitality and giving to others also must continue if true Christmas joy is to remain. An outing to which friends are invited or a party that includes a round of carolling become perhaps even more appropriate with the approach of Epiphany." Excerpted from The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Cub Scouts made candles with crayons, but they were in chunks, not melted in together.
Dawn is the time of day in which the first rays of light begin to glimmer, to illumine and dispel the darkness. . . Christs actual birth in Bethlehem shows forth the beautiful reality that God works with things according to their nature. Simply put, it makes perfect sense that a darkened world is tangibly illumined by divine, supernatural intervention upon the natural. Father Wade L. J. Menezes, CPM
Candles are a symbol of Christ, the Light of the World. The wax is regarded as typifying in a most appropriate way the flesh of Jesus Christ born of a virgin mother. From this has sprung the further conception that the wick symbolizes more particularly the soul of Jesus Christ and the flame the Divinity which absorbs and dominates both. Catholic Encyclopedia
St. Francis initiated the beautiful practice of displaying a Christmas crib or creche. He built it in a cave on a bleak mountain near the village of Greccio. News of what he was doing spread all over the countryside and a steady stream of men, women and chldren came by night carrying torches and candles to light their way.
"It seemed like midday," wrote someone who was there, "during that midnight filled with gladness for man and beast, and the crowds drawing near, so happy to be present for the renewal of the eternal mystery." Francis himself sang the Gospel story in a voice which was "strong and sweet and clear," says the observer. "Then he preached to the people, most movingly, about the birth of the poor King in little Bethlehem." Excerpted from Christmas
Today we celebrate the baptism of Christ in the Jordan. This is the second epiphany, or manifestation, of the Lord. The past, the present, and the future are made manifest in this epiphany.
The most holy one placed Himself among us, the unclean and sinners. The Son of God freely humbled Himself at the hand of the Baptist. By His baptism in the Jordan, Christ manifests His humility and dedicates Himself to the redemption of man. He takes upon Himself the sins of the whole world and buries them in the waters of the Jordan. The Light of the World by Benedict Baur, O.S.B.
We did traditional Spanish Christmas carols - villancicos - with our musical group this year, and it’s funny how many of them talk about diapers. The Virgin Mary is washing the diapers, the gypsies stole the diapers, the Three Kings are bringing the very best diapers ...
Odd cultural quirk!