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      Feasts of the Season Holiday Season 2017
                                  Preparing for Christmas
         An Advent as Long as Lent? Way back when—in the 500s—Advent was several weeks longer than it is today. In fact, it was called Saint Martin’s Lent because it began on Saint Martin of Tours’ s feast day— November 11.
As soon as people  nished eating Saint Martin’s goose, they turned their thoughts to the seriousness and self-denial of preparing for Christmas. Why a goose? According to the story, the people of Tours, France, wanted to make Martin their bishop, a position he didn’t want. The townspeople made up a story to get Martin to come to town. They told him a dying woman had requested him to visit her bedside. When Martin got to town, he discovered the trick and tried to hide. But his pet goose had followed Martin to town and honked with joy when it discovered Martin’s hiding place. The townspeople surrounded Martin, lifted him to their shoulders, carried him to the cathedral, and proclaimed him bishop. In memory of Saint Martin’s goose, it became the custom to eat goose on Saint Martin’s Day. That’s not much of a reward for the goose!
The Color Violet Violet is the color of royalty and was used to welcome the coming of a king. We use
it during Advent to symbolize both the impending birth of the Messiah and also foreshadow his death. Violet is also used to symbolize repentance. As part of our joyful anticipation of Christmas, we examine our readiness for our Lord’s coming and repent of our sins.
The Color Rose But Advent isn’t all seriousness. On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 17 this year, the priest may wear rose-colored vestments at Mass, and the third candle on the Advent wreath may be rose as well. This happy color is a re ection of our joy that the celebration of Jesus’ birth is almost here.
Not Celebrate Christmas? For the  rst several centuries of Christianity, Christmas was not celebrated. In fact, some early Church Fathers considered it inappropriate to celebrate Jesus’ birth. That was because pagan rulers’ birthdays were often observed with wild celebrations. Easter was (and still is) the primary feast of the year. It is celebrated by the entire Church although not necessarily on the same day in all places.
Christmas celebrations came later, and it took years to establish a date. Finally, December 25 was chosen. It almost coincided with the winter solstice, when hours of daylight begin to increase again. Light is returning, and it is  tting to recognize Jesus’ birth as the entrance of the true Light into the world.
       A Service of
Note to Parents: More activities at © 2017 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.

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