Happy New Year!
And Christmas blessings to you too!
Yes, Merry Christmas.
Most people believe Christmas ended on December 25th with Jesus’ birth. But that’s when the Christmas season began for us.
It occurs to me the extended Christmas season is kind of like a wedding.
Before the wedding, there are months of preparation.
Reserving a church and a reception hall. Selecting flowers. A cake. A wedding dress and tuxedos. Invitations … the list goes on.
Advent is our time to prepare for Christmas. We plan parties. Buy gifts. We decorate our homes. Bake cookies. Our Christmas to-do list gets longer too.
Although Christmas preparation doesn’t last months … give retailers a few more years and it may!
Then the big day arrives. The happy couple is married. Family and friends gather to celebrate … and gifts are exchanged. Sound familiar?
After the wedding day, the couple begins their life together. Little by little they reveal themselves to each other. And every day that goes by they learn more and grow closer. They look forward to spending eternity together.
The Christmas season is similar … after Jesus is born, He reveals himself to the world. First to the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12) … which we celebrated last Sunday at the Feast of the Epiphany.
Then His true mission and divinity are revealed during His Baptism (Mark 1:9-11) …which we will celebrate this Sunday with the Feast of the Baptism of The Lord.
There’s a third major life event included in the Christmas celebration … when Jesus performs the miracle at the wedding in Cana when he turns water into wine (John 2:1-11) … and begins his public ministry. Hmmm, a wedding.
Celebrating the full Christmas season is our opportunity to get closer to the Lord as he reveals himself. And we become better prepared to spend eternity with Him.
This issue of Genuflect clears up the confusion as to when the Christmas season actually ends, some fun ways to celebrate it right up to the end, a Catholic twist on a couple of Christmas traditions, the history of the Epiphany and some interesting ways it’s celebrated, and the Feast of the Baptism of The Lord.
If you haven’t taken down your Christmas tree yet, take heart … you have an excuse to hold off for a little longer!
And if you’ve already taken yours down, that’s okay too.
With or without decorations, we all have an opportunity to celebrate the true and full spirit of Christmas for a few more days.
And next year we can plan to leave our decorations up a little longer.
Founding Editor, Genuflect
Give a beautiful Rosary to your loved ones … or find a new one for yourself to pray with. Our imported Rosaries are hand made by craftsmen in the Holy Land with stones indigenous to the Bethlehem area. They come with a Certificate of Authenticity. Shop all our Rosaries.
When Does The Christmas Season End?
Commercially we begin Christmas so early that by December 26, people are ready to pack it all away until next year. But in the Catholic church, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until December 25. But when does it actually end? Is it after 12 days? Is it later in January … or early February? This article clears up the confusion.
When Does The Christmas Season End? | Aleteia
Infographic: 6 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Until The End of The Season
This year, the Christmas season does not officially end until the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord on January 12th. So even though most of the world has packed away Christmas, here are 6 fun ways to continue your celebration until the end.
The Hidden Meaning of The Gifts in “12 Days of Christmas”
The first day of Christmas is technically December 25th and as the song goes, “my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.” Then the remaining 11 days of Christmas unfold to reveal someone’s crazy idea of gifts. But the story goes that the gifts from the song are actually symbols for catechetical learning. It was a way for children to easily remember the church’s teachings, and possibly even was used in England back when Catholicism was outlawed. These “hidden” gifts do make more sense.
The Hidden Meaning of The Gifts in “12 Days of Christmas” | National Catholic Register
A Catholic Version of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’
“Twas The Night Before Christmas” is one of the most well known and beloved stories. We learned it as a child and continue to read it each Christmas. Author Thomas D. Williams has created a new Christmas story … the “real” Christmas story. And he hopes it will become just as beloved as the original. I received my copy of the book recently, and I give it two thumbs up. Read about why Mr. Williams was inspired to write the story and how you can order your own to begin a new Catholic story tradition (this is not an affiliate link).
Author Hopes Families Find His Retelling of Christmas Story ‘Uplifting’ | The Catholic Sun
Want to Know The History of The Feast of The Epiphany?
The Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Jesus as the son of God to the Magi. Here’s a look at the history of the feast day and some of the traditions celebrated around the world.
Want to Know the History Behind The Feast of The Epiphany? | Catholic News Agency
Epiphany And The Meaning of Life
Rev. Prof. Thomas Casey shares the Epiphany moments of several well-known figures, like Desmond Tutu and Gandhi. He explains that we all have Epiphany moments that can change the course of our lives. We just have to open ourselves up to them.
Finding The Divine in Every Moment: Epiphany And The Meaning of Life | The Irish Times
Why is 20 + C + M + B + 20 Written Over Some Doors?
There is a century’s old tradition of blessing your doorway by marking it with chalk, holy water, and prayers on the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s supposed to bless the house and everyone who enters for the year. Although the Epiphany was last Sunday, I found one source that said you can do the blessing ‘as close as possible’ to the Epiphany. So if you want to take advantage of this Epiphany tradition, check out this article.
Chalk It Up: Bless Your Door This Epiphany | Busted Halo
Italians do What For The Epiphany?
Did you know in Italy, the Epiphany is a national holiday that is celebrated with witches, brooms, and treats? It sounds bizarre, but the legend of the little old lady named Befana who was invited by the Magi to travel to see the baby King it is actually a charming story.
What You Need to Know About The Feast of The Baptism of The Lord
This feast is often overshadowed by the Feast of the Epiphany, but it’s the last day of the celebration of the Christmas season. And it’s important as yet another revelation by the Lord. Here’s a succinct overview of what this feast day is all about and its origins.
The Feast of The Baptism of The Lord | Learn Religions
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