We are celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent this weekend, knocking on the door of Christmas. In a few hours, we’ll be welcoming the new born Savior, Jesus Christ.
I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas celebration. May the joy of Christmas fill your heart. May you know His goodness and love. Jesus approaches us with such gentleness. He doesn’t appear as a vicious military general, but a defenseless child. He doesn’t overpower us, but vulnerably lets us come and adore Him.
Awe and adoration are two great themes of Christmas. There is a sense of wonder at the mystery of Christmas. After Christmas Masses, I always enjoy watching children investigate the Nativity scene. They identify the characters and admire the Christ-Child. All of us have a similar attitude. We marvel at God’s love and how vulnerable He makes Himself.
The other figures in the Nativity scene show us an attitude of adoration. Mary and Joseph are on bended knee before the newborn King. The shepherds drop what they’re doing to travel to the stable. Finally, the Magi come from miles away to worship Jesus Christ. Worship and homage is offered to Him. For us, this means that we offer our lives to Jesus. We give Him our time, our love, and our energy. We give everything we have to the Lord. He is never outdone in generosity.
The celebrations don’t end on December 26th. We continue celebrating the Octave of Christmas through January 1st. Christmas is such a special day that we Catholics keep celebrating for an entire week. Within this week are a couple incredible feast days. On December 26th we celebrate the feast day of St. Stephen who was the first person to be martyred for Christ. On December 27th the Church honors St. John the Apostle and Evangelist who is the patron of our parish in Fryburg. To commemorate this patronal feast day, there will be an extra Mass at St. John at 5pm on December 27th. As in years in the past, we’ll host some priests in the rectory after Mass, so they’ll be joining us for Mass. There won’t be confessions at Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, December 27th for this reason. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The Octave of Christmas continues with the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28th. This feast commemorates the boys that King Herod had killed in Bethlehem during his hunt for Jesus. On Sunday, December 31, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This is always celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is amazing that Jesus, God Himself, was born into a family like you and me. Finally, on January 1 we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. This year it isn’t a Holy Day of Obligation so we won’t have our full schedule of Masses. Mass on January 1 will be at 10:00am at St. Joseph Church and 10:30am at Immaculate Conception Church.
Even though the Octave of Christmas ends with January 1, we have plenty more great feast days. On Sunday, January 7, the Church will celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord. On this day, we commemorate the visit of the three Magi to Jesus.
The moral of the story is that there are plenty of great ways to continue your celebration of Christmas with the Liturgy of the Church. May you and your family have a very blessed Christmas season.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson