The meaning of the celebration
+ Since the fourth century, Christians in the West have celebrated the feast of the Nativity 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.
For prayer and reflection
“In Bethlehem, we discover that the life of God can enter into our hearts and dwell there. If we welcome that gift, history changes, starting with each of us. For once Jesus dwells in our heart, the center of life is no longer my ravenous and selfish ego, but the One who is born and lives for love.”—Pope Francis
On December 25, 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 Day1258 and was canonized in 1628.
To learn about communities named for the Savior and the mystery of the Lord’s Nativity, visit the links below.
-The Society of the Divine Savior (the Salvatorian priests and brothers): www.salvatorians.com
-The Sisters of the Divine Savior (the Salvatorian Sisters): www.sistersofthedivinesavior.org
-The Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus: www.hhcj.org
-The Society of the Holy Child Jesus: www.sjch.org/american
-The Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus: www.fmijusa.org
-The Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague: www.carmeloftraverscity.org
-The Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus of Prague and Our Lady of Guadalupe: www.carmelsanantonio.org
-The Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus: www.lufkintxnuns.org
-The Benedictine Sisters of Emmanuel Monastery (Lutherville, MD): www.emmanuelosb.org
– The Carmelite Community of the Word: www.ccwsisters.org
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word,
the light of faith, which illumines our minds,
may also shine through in our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Christmas Mass “at Dawn”)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.