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Celebrating the Whole Season of Christmas -Part I

Well, here we are, the weekend after Christmas. Holiday shopping is a thing of the past, our guests have returned to their homes, the gifts have been opened and the house is a little quieter (for most). The next thing on the list – take down the tree. HOLD EVERYTHING! Christmas is not over; it has only just begun!

The liturgical season of Christmas is the second shortest season we celebrate as a Church. The Triduum (Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday) being the shortest. Christmas begins on the eve or vigil of the birth of Christ and officially ends with the Baptism of the Lord on January 10, 2021. This season is filled with important celebrations. With a little more of Christmas vacation for our schools, it is a great time to teach our children and/or grandchildren about these important feasts and solemnities and may be a good review for us all.

Note: There is a hierarchy or order of the importance of the liturgies we celebrate in the Church. These are defined in this way:

A Solemnity is of the highest order and celebrates events, beliefs, and personages of greatest importance and universal significance in

salvation history. Feast Days are of lesser significance.Memorials, which can be obligatory or optional, are of the least significance as prescribed by the Church.

The Solemnity of Christmas, we know well. We commemorate the birth of Jesus, a child in a manger, who became for all, our Savior. Jesus was sent to earth by his Father, our Creator, to save us all from sin. This baby grew up, became an incredible teacher, and taught the world to love God and one another. Jesus would give his life for us, dying on the Cross and rising to New Life on Easter. Christmas is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics and like a Sunday, we can attend Mass on the Eve (Vigil) or on the day.

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus – This is celebrated on the first Sunday following Christmas as we honor the new family into which Jesus was born: Mary, his Mother, Joseph, his earthly Father and of course, Jesus.

On this day, Jesus and his parents received a blessing in the Temple by Simeon, who, by the Holy Spirit, recognized this baby as the long-awaited Messiah. Think of the joy that Mary and Joseph experienced as they welcomed their little one. Welcoming a new baby into a family is one of the happiest and most sacred of all times for it celebrates life – a gift from God. Say a prayer to the Holy Family today and one for your family as well.

The Feast of Holy Innocents is celebrated on December 28th and commemorates the slaughter of innocent children by King Herod who was seeking to eliminate the child Jesus. He was concerned that the people were honoring a new king. The children who died are considered by the Church to be among the first martyrs; one who dies for their beliefs. Their blood shed forebears the blood Jesus would shed on the cross to save all people. Say a prayer on this day for all children that they may be kept safe and protected and let us pray for the unborn, that their innocent lives be protected.

To be continued next week . . .

Have a wonderful week!

Deb Rudolph

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