Merry Christmas to each of you and your families! As we celebrate these Holy Days, be assured that I remember and include all of you in my prayers and masses. As a Christian community, we celebrate the eight days, the Octave of Christmas as if we were celebrating Christmas! Now that is a beautiful gift!
For our secular society, Christmas is over on December 26th. For us, my friends, we are just starting our celebration! The celebration commences on the 25th and runs for 8 whole days through January 1st. For us Christians, each day during that Octave is like celebrating Christmas all over again!
So, how do we mark this Christmas season? Leave the tree up! Leave the lights and the wreaths out! Keep out all the decorations beautifying your home! In fact, leave them up until we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord (when we celebrate Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan) on January 9th. You worked hard decorating your home for Christmas! Let’s leave them up the whole Christmas Season!
Remember that this celebration is a Christian celebration! We write the rules of how we can celebrate! The world is the happy recipient of our Feasts and celebrations. You’re welcome, world! But don’t come and tell us to take down our decorations or stop celebrating Christmas on the 26th of December! This is our Feast, our celebration! Let’s celebrate our redemption, our salvation, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, who was born to us in that stable in Bethlehem!
PS – Don’t be surprised if you hear me greet you on December 29th or January 5th with “Merry Christmas”! Maybe we should all do that! From December 25 – January 9, let’s start a St. James tradition – greeting one another with “Merry Christmas” throughout the whole Christmas Season!
May the peace, joy, and love of Jesus be in your hearts and homes as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin