News of Great Joy: Today a Savor is born for us, Christ the Lord.
For Christians, Christmas is not just a single day remembering the birth of Jesus, but rather several weeks of joy and celebration. Christmas, also known as the Feast of the Nativity, celebrates the Incarnation and Birth of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas season begins with the celebration of the Birth of Jesus as a vigil on Christmas Eve, December 24, and lasts through the Baptism of the Lord. The liturgical color of this season is white.
Unfortunately, in recent times, celebrating Christmas centers increasingly on food preparation, gift opening and other festivities that, while good, are only secondary activities that are not meant to replace the primary "reason for the season:" celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God becoming man and dwelling among us.
CELEBRATIONS within the CHRISTMAS SEASON
Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine
Prayer by Pope John XXIII
O sweet Child of Bethlehem,
grant that we may share with all our hearts
in this profound mystery of Christmas.
Put into the hearts of men and women
this peace for which they sometimes seek
so desperately and which you alone can give to them. Help them know one another better, and to live as brothers and sisters,
children of the same Father.
Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness and purity. Awaken in their hearts
love and gratitude for your infinite goodness. Join them all together in your love. And give us your heavenly peace. Amen
Hymn by St. Ephraim the Syrian
The feast day of Your birth resembles You, Lord, because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated from generation to generation. Kings and emperors may pass away and the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse, but Your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.
Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth, heaven and earth were reconciled. Since you came from heaven to earth on that day, You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt. You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick, Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.
In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit. In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil, The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.
St. Ephraim the Syrian (AD 306-373)