How long is Christmas, 8 days, 12 days or more?
The 8 days after Christmas is known in the Catholic Church tradition as the Octave of Christmas and every day in the Octave is celebrated as solemnly as the Christmas Day. But some of those days they have their own patron saint as well.
- Octave of Christmas is explained here … (click)
- The "12 days of Christmas" is an old English Christmas carol with a hidden meaning. You can learn about of this unusual story (click here) and listen to the original “12 Days of Christmas” (click here)
So how long is Christmas in the Catholic Church anyway? About this and some family activities for this time you can read (click here)
King Herod was afraid of Jesus and ordered many innocent lives to be slaughtered. Even Herod died long time ago, but his spirit is still around, and innocent lives are in danger. Today we remember in our prayer all those unborn lives persecuted by contemporary Herods.
God is the giver of all life, and this life begins in the mother's womb: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
Let us prayer today for every baby waiting to be born: “Jesus, my Light in the darkness, your word says that we are the light of the world. Protect this unborn child and may she or he be the light of the world as they grow up. May the light of Christ illuminate the world through this baby. May he or she make a difference in this world for the glory of your name. [from connectusfund.org]
On this last Sunday of the Year, 5 days after Christmas we honour the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We commend our families to their care and pray for all who have been or is a part of our family, those still alive and those of whom we hope to have joined the great family of God in heaven.
We need the Holy Family now more than ever. When we look at them, we can learn what the true love is, what a vocation of husband and wife is, their commitment and dedication to God, to their Son Jesus and to each other. In the world where the definitions, values and principles change so quickly and confuse so many, we need to relate to something that is constant and true, something beautiful, attractive, and holy.
When we look at Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, at all their hardships and trials we realize that also we when faced with difficulties, we can win … we can win with the virus and other contemporary diseases that weaken us and our families, we can preserve our faith, and with the help of the Holy Family from Nazareth be holy and happy. Holiness is not a burden, but the gift that brings joy. Merry Christmas!
There is a new sign on the church door: “Closed for the public worship”. Saint Mary's looks empty and cold behind the closed doors. Some parishioners used to wait for Saturday Vigil Holy Mass over one hour in the parking lot. The parking is covered with snow and ice and is empty today. As we celebrate the Feast of Saint Stephen on thhis first day after Christmas, we realize that our faith to be strong must be tested continually. When 6 years ago I celebrated Christmas at Saint Mary's there were over1500 parishioners and guests joining me at the manger at various Christmas Masses. This year only 350 attended. It took us a while to organize the seats for them, to label every pew, but still many remined empty … Was it the virus or snow, I do not know. I offered the prayers for those who dared to come and also for those who stayed at home. The trial begins. The church may look cold and empty, but it is not. There is here, the constant presence of the Lord. The read light by the tabernacle is on. The Lord is here and is waiting …