Happy birthday Jesus!
Welcome to the beginning of the Church.
The decorations, the food, the family, the pine smell, the chill in the air (unless you happen to live in Southern California where we spend our Christmas days on the pier), the gifts, the giving, the receiving, and the return lines.
The afternoon naps, the friends, the poinsettias, the dishes to clean, the wrapping paper to pick up, the carols, the cookies, the fudge, and the dusty gym card.
It all shouts the most wonderful time of the year.
Among the stress and the shopping and the preparations, people still seem to be able to spread around the Christmas joy.
People seem to regress to their childhood; they are joyful and they are hopeful, they are wide-eyed and expecting, and they again posses the unwavering faith like a child.
There really is something magical about the Christmas season.
For Catholics, the Christmas season really rocks because it lasts for 8 days! Yup.
The octave of Christmas.
And during the octave, we experience how the Church was started and who started it.
We experience the battle and the glory of the Church.
The birth of the baby boy who saves the world.
His superpowers are far greater than Spiderman, Batman, and Superman.
He cleanses us of our sins.
He gives us the opportunity of everlasting life with Him.
He came; He was born to die.
The wood of the manger would soon be the wood of the cross.
Despite the pain that would manifest; He still came.
He came to bring you joy and the hope of ever-lasting life.
He loves you.
The feast day of St. Stephen.
The first martyr for the faith.
He was stoned to death for his love of the Child born to save the world.
We go from the joy of the birth of the Child
to a battle victoriously won for the glory of the Child.
Though it may seem harsh to go from the joy of the Child to the sorrow of the death of St. Stephen, the Child brings hope.
It is because of the Child that St. Stephen gave his life.
And it is because of the Child that St. Stephen has hope for an eternal life.
Feast day of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist.
One of 12 chosen by Christ.
By the power of the Child in him, John shared the love of the Christ Child with the world.
He told about the life of the Child in his letters and his Gospel firmly engraved in the Bible.
Yet another man who lived his life for the love of the Child.
The feast of the Holy Innocents.
The day dedicated to the poor innocent lives lost as a result of the pride of Herod.
Herod ordered all the young boys in Bethlehem to be killed to prevent the loss of his throne.
The Holy Family, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, fled to Egypt. There they found safety.
The feast of the Holy Innocents honors the children who lost their lives due to the pride of one man. This day is also a day to pray for and acknowledge those innocent children who have lost their lives by means of abortion. May we also pray for the the women who are considering an abortion this very moment and for the women who will consider and abortion in the future. May they have the courage, the humility, and the selflessness to bring their blessed child into the world.
The feast day of St. Thomas A. Becket.
Deacon, chancellor of England, and the archbishop of Canterbury.
St. Thomas underwent a drastic conversion and began to stand up for the Church and its true teachings. This new-found courage, truth, and faith angered King Henry II.
His anger turned to rage and hate and the king had St. Thomas killed.
St. Thomas is a martyr for the Faith.
The feast day of the Holy Family.
A day dedicated to the perfect family.
A humble husband and earthly father.
A sinless, pure, and ever-virgin mother.
A sinless Child who came to save the world.
Could a family be any more perfect?
The Holy Family is the perfect family; the family to form our own families after.
The feast day of the Holy Family is the symbol of unity and togetherness after the previous days of sacrifice.
May we all strive to obtain the perfection and unity of the Holy Family.
The feast day of Pope St. Sylvester.
During his reign as pope, the Arian heresy and the Donatist schism caused unsuitability and uncertainty in the church.
He continued to lead in truth.
He lived to reign as Pope under the Emperor Constantine.
May his trust in the Church and words of truth be a witness to us even in the midst of uncertainty.
Solemnity- Mary, Mother of God.
One of the incomprehensible mysteries of our Faith.
Mary was hand-picked to be the mother of the Christ Child.
The Christ Child is one with God and is God;
The mystery of the Blessed Trinity.
Therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.
Oh, glorious mystery!
The octave of Christmas seems like a precursor to the ever-lively life of the Church.
There is glory and there is joy.
There are hearts won for the Lord and good deeds done.
There is pain and suffering.
We go through trials that seem unending.
But the octave of Christmas continues to prove that the sorrow and pain is not met by defeat but rather, it is met by victory.
The pain and suffering that Christ experienced, the purpose for His birth, was not met by defeat but rather by the greatest victory ever, salvation, eternal life for all.
He offers us the same gift.
The beauty of Christian suffering is that it is victorious in the name of Christ.
There is peace in our suffering knowing it is for a greater good, for His glory, and for the victory.
There is peace in suffering.
Via Dolorosa per Pax.
Talking about suffering is not to put a damper on the joy of Christmas but rather it is a reminder that joy can be present in every moment of your life; even in the sorrow and suffering,
Because He was born on that beautiful Christmas day.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
May you be truly blessed this season and in this up-coming year.
May you be blessed enough to remember that even in your greatest sorrow,
There is victory in the wood of the manger and the wood of the cross.
God bless you.