Page 22 - catholicresources_Spring2018
P. 22

      Feasts of the Season Winter 2018
                               Christmas in January
            The 12 days of Christmas are more than words in a Christmas carol. The Church’s celebration of Christmas lasts for 12 days. Of course, this joyous season in the Church year begins on Christmas Day, the great feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. But the Church has the tradition of extending important feasts for eight consecutive days, called an octave. Both Christmas and Easter are celebrated as octaves. On the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, the Church honors Jesus’ family with the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Then the Christmas season continues into January. The Octave Day of Christmas—January 1—is the feast of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.
Another important feast in the Christmas season, the Epiphany of the Lord, is also celebrated in January. Epiphany has traditionally been observed on January 6, but to make it easier for God’s people to gather on this important day, Catholics in the United States celebrate Epiphany on the Sunday nearest to January 6. This year, Epiphany is on Sunday, January 7.
The Christmas season ends with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, observed this year on January 8.
January 1
January 7
Mary, the Holy Mother of God
On this holy day of obligation, the Church celebrates the motherhood of Mary. By saying yes to the message of God delivered by the angel Gabriel, Mary cooperated with God’s plan for the redemption of humankind. Catholics honor Mary by coming together to celebrate Mass.
This feast is almost a second Christmas because it celebrates the day on which Gentiles were made aware of the birth of their Savior. This manifestation, or showing, of Christ happened when the Magi from the East—representing all the non-Jews of the world— found the promised king at the end of their long journey. The word epiphany comes from a Greek word that means “manifestation.”
The Gospel of Matthew tells us about the visit of the Magi to Jesus (2:1–12) and about the gifts they brought to honor Jesus. Each gift had a special meaning and pointed to who Jesus is. They brought gold as a sign of Jesus’ role as king. Frankincense, a fragrant substance used in religious rituals, signified Jesus’ role as priest. Myrrh, which was used to prepare the dead for burial, pointed to Jesus’ Death on the Cross.
In honor of the gifts of the Magi, Epiphany is a day for gift-giving in many countries.
Note to Parents: More activities at © 2018 P aum Publishing Group, a division of Bayard, Inc. (800-543-4383) Permission is granted to reproduce this page for use by parishes, schools, and families using P aum Gospel Weeklies.
                 A Service of

   20   21   22   23   24