The End of the Christmas Season

01-12-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John C. Granato

Today marks the end of the Christmas season. For many people, the day after Christmas ends the season. For Catholics, many view the Epiphany as the end of the season. Liturgically, though, the week after Epiphany is still part of the Christmas season which will end today with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. For others, culturally speaking, they even extend the season to February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. These people will keep their Christmas decorations up and their Christmas music on for the whole month of January. In any event, from Christmas day to either the Baptism or the Presentation, the life of Christ and the Sacred Scriptures read at Mass do not truly follow the normal and natural progression of Christ's life.

For example, on the Feast of the Holy Family, which takes place on the Sunday between Christmas and the Feast of the Mother of God, we read at Mass in cycle C the finding of Our Lord in the Temple at age 12. Then on the feast of the Mother of God, we read of the circumcision that takes place when Christ is eight days old. Then at the Epiphany we return to the Christ Child and the visit of the Magi. Then the Presentation in February takes place with the Christ Child but the Baptism occurs a few weeks before and takes place at the age of 30. Ultimately, the point is, Christmas is more than just one day. We have a liturgical season that ends with the Baptism in mid-January and culturally we have the season ending on February 2nd. But in a real way, Christmas, like Easter, is every day. We have a cycle and rhythm of life that moves from birth to death to resurrection. Christmas, more commonly known as the Mass of Christ, is celebrated every day where Christ is born on the altar at the moment of consecration and suffers through the crucifixion and the resurrection so that we can receive the glorified body of Our Lord at Holy Communion. Just as the person of Jesus Christ images a marriage of the divine and the human, for Jesus is fully God and fully man, we also have this marriage whereby our human nature is united in a nuptial way when we receive the divinity of Christ at Communion. We are able to receive these graces and blessings precisely because we were first baptized into Christ. Enjoy these last few hours of the Christmas season.

God bless,
Fr. John