Merry Christmas everyone! We hope your Christmas is as blessed as ours continues to be! This year we placed our gifts around the stable after the kids went to bed. They were so excited to wake up on Christmas morning, put the baby Jesus in the manger, and sing Happy Birthday to Him. As many of you know the Christmas season lasts into January after the Wise Men arrive on, or near, Jan 6 (Epiphany) and ends after Our Lord's Baptism (on Jan. 11th this year). Our bishop shared a devotion for the 12 Days of Christmas.
Bishop Baker suggests a return to the ancient Christian custom of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas. The 12 days are from Dec. 26 through the feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the three Kings, on Jan. 6. The Liturgical Christmas season lasts until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
The Christ candle may be lit at the main meal of Christmas and placed in the center of the Advent wreath. A prayer may be offered as an invitation to commit doing something constructive, some random act of kindness or a reconciliation as soon as possible.
The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, tells the story of gift-giving; and the composer carefully chose gifts that would appear unusual, yet be filled with meaning to those who knew the translation. The true love mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor but to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus Christ. The other gifts in the song refer to beliefs of the Catholic Faith.
Bishop Baker suggests that families celebrate the gift of Jesus to us by his coming into the world. Celebrate your own 12 days of Christmas from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6.
Light the Christ Candle of Hope at the main Christmas dinner and during the 12 days of Christmas. Repeat the lighting of the Christ Candle and the Prayer each day.
The Christ Candle of Hope Prayer
God Our loving Father, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ into this world to conquer all the forces of evil: sin, suffering and death. He came to overcome evil with the power of good; hatred with the strength of love, your own great love for us in Jesus. Help us never to curse the darkness, but to join with you in bringing your light into this world, the light that is your Son, born of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem. Help us to be instruments of your light and love by doing one special act of kindness or being your special instrument of reconciliation this Christmas season. May the Christ Candle which we light symbolize our desire to bring light into a world of darkness and hope into a world of despair. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.