Merry Christmas everyone!
The Christmas season has officially begun! For a lot of people, Christmas season seems to have begun much sooner. I noticed this year that decorations, advertisements and Christmas theme items began to appear the day after Halloween instead of the day after Thanksgiving. I guess there are a couple of different ways to view that but it seems to me that our world longs for the Christmas season because we long for more of Jesus in our lives. Although we may complain about consumerism and a loss of the sense of the sacred in our society, there are still a great many believers and to them, it is truly Christmas that we celebrate! I have a special attraction to Advent and to Christmas so I don’t mind the extra time of decorations that announce Christ’s coming. To me, it all serves to extend the reminder of Christ’s special presence among us “Emmanuel” and God’s incomparable gift of forgiveness that brings peace, reconciliation, joy and salvation to the whole world! This is truly worthy of an extended celebration! In one of the traditional songs, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” it mentions that a special gift was received on each day of the Christmas season, which continues to the Epiphany of the Lord. The song reminds me that one way of making Christmas Season special may be to space out our gift giving and gift opening so that it extends through the Christmas season. As you know, the song mentions that the gifts received came from “my true love,” which is God. The partridge in the pear tree is Christ. 2 turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments. 3 French hens are the theological virtues of Fath, Hope and Charity. 4 calling birds are the 4 Gospels. 5 gold rings are the first 5 books of the Old Testament. 6 geese laying are the first 6 days of creation. 7 swans swimming are the seven seven sacraments. 8 maids milking are the beatitudes. 9 ladies dancing are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 10 lords leaping are the Ten Commandments. 11 pipers piping are the 11 faithful disciples. 12 drummers drumming are the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed.
We offer tokens of love and esteem to each other in the form of presents and kindness. This is important because love flows forth from God who is the source of love and God’s love within us then reaches out to others. We also know that our most true and lasting gifts come to us from God’s love and mercy! The Christmas season is interspersed with special feasts: Saint Steven, The Holy Innocents and The Holy Family and Epiphany. Each of these feast days offers a particular window from which to view the mystery of Christ and his mission to save us. Let us ponder with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and kings the gift of Christ who is our true love and give thanks to God for our families: family of origin and our family of faith! Blessings of peace and joy to you all! +++ Fr. Peter