As you go through the stores and shops you will notice that almost all the Christmas decorations are gone or reduced in price considerably. As you drive around town you will see most of the lights and yard decorations have been taken down, packed, and stored for next year. That is because to most of the world Christmas is over. However, I want to remind you that for us as Catholics, Christmas Day was not the end of Christmas but the beginning; it was not the culmination of the celebrations, but the start. The Church celebrates Christmas for an octave (eight days). For those who come to daily Mass, they will notice that for the eight days after Christmas, we still sing the Gloria and we still light the church full of Christmas lights and candles, just as on Christmas Day. Why? Because this event, this mystery, this act of love for mankind, is so great the church has it overflow into eight days of celebration and feasting. After this, the Christmas season continues for a couple of weeks that only end with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.
So, don’t live this time solely in anticipation of the celebration of New Year’s Eve, as so much of the secular media do. Keep feasting on your favorite foods (though in moderation), trimming the Christmas tree, singing Christmas carols, and wishing everyone you see a Merry (or better yet a Blessed) Christmas. Continue to use these days to read the scripture passages about the birth of our Lord and the early years of our Lord on earth. Continue to dive into the mystery of the God who became man, the Lord who became like His servants, the King who came to conquer with love and peace. In this way, you will come to know and understand better than ever before what it means to celebrate what God has done for you, me, and the world.
Your Brother and Father in Christ,