The meaning of the Feast
+ Since the fourth century, Christians have celebrated the feast of the Incarnation of Christ on the 25th day of December.
+ Marking the beginning of the Christmas Season, the Church celebrates the three comings of Christ: in history in his birth in Bethlehem, in mystery as he is born within us each day, and in majesty as we celebrate that he will come again at the end of time.
+ The Christmas Season begins at sundown on December 24 and continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the Sunday following the Epiphany.
On December 24, the Church also remembers Saint Peter Nolasco, the 12th century French nobleman who founded the Order of Our Lady of Mercy (the Mercedarians), a community devoted to ransoming enslaved and persecuted Christians from the Moors. Saint Peter died on Christmas Day, 1258, and was canonized in 1628.
“The world is not whole… But it is into this broken world that a child is born, who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior. I look at him and pray, ‘Thank you, Lord, that you came… Your heart is greater than mine.’”—Henri Nouwen, Road to Daybreak
O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Christmas Mass “During the Day”
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.