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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Over?

I was a little surprised to read that Christmas was fun and now it's apparently over too! At least Candy has her tree put away!

The Catholic church among others continue to celebrate the Season of Christmas until Epiphany on January 6. Since Christmas Day we have remembered the martyrdom of St. Steven, celebrated the feast of St. John the beloved apostle, and today the commemoration of the Holy Innocents, the babies King Herod slaughtered in his attempt to murder Baby Jesus! We still have to get through the Solemnity of Mary over the New Year and the visit of the Magi for Epiphany!

Frankly I am glad and feel so blessed that the Catholic church (as well as the Orthodox and other liturgical Christian churches) still follow the SEASON OF CHRISTMAS which has followed a season of preparation - ADVENT.

In our household the tree just went up a week ago and it will stay up until January 6. When the wise men come, the tree will go! Our creche with all of our figures of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus is also up. I am still sending out Christmas Cards and a few Christmas Gifts. I no longer strain and struggle to get this all done before Christmas Day because I understand that Christmas is not over - it is merely Day 4 of the Christmas Season.



You can read my offering on today's Feast day
here.

As they were reading today's gospel reading I thought about some of the charges that Candy has leveled against Catholics, that we don't know the scriptures and that we aren't centered on Christ but only focused on Mary. And yet today I felt a lump in my throat as the deacon read about Joseph and Mary's treacherous and scary journey into Egypt to save the precious Christ Child. All of these centuries later and I felt sorrow and grief for the mothers who watched their little boys senselessly massacared. This too is part of the gospel story. This is part of the mystery of the incarnation. It is on our calendar today to remember, read and pray about this.

So for us Christmas is not over. The gift giving, the tree, the beautiful nativity story is only part of the story. Candy can put her tree away and Christmas 2007 behind her if she wants too. But I much prefer to continue in the richness of the story and keep my eyes focused on the deeper message unfolding during the rest of this blessed season.

11 comments:

Blondie said...

Before I became Catholic, I took the tree and decorations down as quickly as possible too. I didn't realize that Christmas Day was the *beginning* of the Christmas Season, not the end. Now we keep the tree up until Epiphany. In fact, we are even having a Christmas party on January 5th. I love being Catholic. :)

Elena said...

Me too Blondie, which is why I could never ever be tempted or even compelled to look at the half truth Candy presents as the Gospel. I've seen the whole picture and I find her version lacking.

Candy did write last week (and then apparently took it down because I couldn't find it again)that she would never "quit" because she enjoyed the thrill of converting Catholics too much! That's a paraphrase but that was the gist of it.

It's not too hard to convert someone with one foot out of the church and the other on a banana peel! (White Daisy comes to mind)but I think it is much harder to compel and persuade someone who has really seen the richness and depth of what the Catholic Church really offers!

kritterc said...

Oh Elena - you are so right!! I absolutely love being Catholic and will never, ever change. I feel sorry for Candy's children. It makes me sad to think of little ones growing up in such a narrow-minded world.

unknown anon said...

Christmastide lasts until January 13, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. But Epiphany is a fine marking place as well, when the point is that the Feast of Christ the King is generally celebrated around Thanksgiving, followed by the four Sundays of Advent, and Christmas doesn't BEGIN until the Vigil of the Feast of Christmas (Christmas Eve).

Kelly said...

Don't forget, the traditional calendar celebrated Christmas until Candlemas, which is in February!

With the move, we didn't do anything at all this Advent, and my husband and I put the tree up on Christmas Eve after the children were in bed as a surprise. I told him that we may go for Candlemas this year, because I feel that I haven't had time to do any of my usual Advent activities. We haven't even baked cookies!

I've been reading the archives, but do I gather that Candy opened her comments, but they're now closed (to Catholics, at least) again now? I didn't see any obvious Catholic comments on the simple faith post.

Milehimama said...

Oh yes, we're just getting started with Christmas around here!

It's really nice to do all my baking etc. after Christmas, since everyone plans everything else weeks before.

Bonus: Christmas dresses and Christmas candy are half price now too.

Faithful Catholic said...

Kelly,

I made a comment on that particular post. I also saw a post from someone named "Sean" that I believe was distinctly Catholic. And, Candy responded to it directly. I believe there were others as well but, I didn't review all the comments. Candy did close the comments on that particular post at some point probably because there were so many and not the typical ones she gets from supporters but also mixed in were many that questioned her position.

I think it would be very interesting to have a discussion about Matthew 6 because there's a whole lot more to it than "vain repetition" in my humble opinion. I just do not understand how anyone could possibly feel comfortable creeping out onto that limb of judgment with regard to making assumptions about the prayers of others! It's truly beyond belief to me. Sorry, didn't mean to get off topic.

I meant to say earlier to Blondie and Elena that I really loved your comments. I love my faith. I can see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, taste it and know it! Nothing or nobody could drag me away. Truly nothing compares in my opinion. I love my Church and all our "rote rituals." If only people took the time to learn a little bit, they'd see how rich and beautiful AND Biblically-sound our faith is.

Tracy said...

as far as the comment that Candy said about "converting Catholics" that very well may be true but for every Catholic that leaves the church.. just as many are coming home to it (like my hubby who after a life time of being LCMS is becoming Catholic)hooray!!

Perplexity said...

Elena, you are so very correct - it is easy to convert someone to just about anything if they are already on their way out. If they are already asking questions, having doubts, and taking steps to change it is quite easy to convince them to at least leave what they are questioning.

That is not converting though. That is simply claiming conversion for something a person was well on his or her way to doing entirely on their own. And, they very well may have chosen no church or practice at all if the one they "converted" to hadn't been there with a net; sort of like ambulance chasers, just waiting for the "injured".

If someone is strong in their faith, their beliefs, and their practices - whatever they may be - it's not so easy to convince them to change their ways. And, it shouldn't be. I think that is a big difference between people who truly believe what their faith gives them and people who are not exactly sure of where they stand or what they believe.

Tracy said...

You are so right perplexity, I don't claim to have caused my husband's conversion to the Catholic faith... no way.. this was very clearly God leading my husband home. I have always prayed that my husband would be wherever God wanted him to be... not my will but the Lord's will be done and I just gave my husband over to the Lord and let it be in his hands. The only conversion was from God himself and I think for Candy to think it is she and not God doing the work is very self righteous and it's not just Candy, I know there are many people who believe they are the one doing the conversion even Catholics but what they don't understand it is God doing the work through them and we should never take the credit for Gods work... never.. in my opinion.

Faithful Catholic said...

Amen, Tracy! I just had a similar discussion on this elsewhere on the net. Some people were condemning me for not being Catholic enough because I didn't try to convert other Christians in the discussion to Catholicism. I recognize that they have faith in the Lord and hope for eternal salvation. Who am I to tell them how to practice their faith? I am happy to answer questions and state my opinion and defend and explain my faith but, I don't feel compelled to convince every other Christian I meeet that they MUST be Catholic. Some other Christians believe that that is because I lack strong faith and that I'm not a "good Catholic." I don't see it that way. Holy cow! Sometimes it seems I can't win. I'm Catholic, I'm too Catholic, I'm not Catholic enough, I'm not even a Christian because I'm a Catholic. I'm sure glad everyone else seems to have a better understanding of my own faith than I do. Sorry for the rant. I get frustrated in the extreme sometimes.