The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ, Mary of Salvation and Memorials of the Saints – 25 December

The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ
Celebration of the anniversary of the Birth of Our Lord. In the earliest days of the Church there was no such Feast, the Saviour’s Birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches. First mention of the Feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200. The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day. Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning. This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose Feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica. Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calendar. The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840. The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special Vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence. Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John.

Mary of Christmas
Unknown Author

I know not how, dear Lady love,
To offer you my praise,
I cannot fashion as I wish
The words that I world raise.
You stand afar, celestial Queen,
The stars are in your crown,
They spangle at each gesture’s path
And dust upon your gown.
Perhaps I might recall the night
You knelt beside the crib,
The night when doors and casements shut
And left a mountain’s rib,
Alone, exposed, to hoard you close
Beside the new-born Child
And seek in Joseph’s kindly eyes
For something worldly-mild.
To counteract such mundane chill
I hereby set my heart,
Dim mirror of an Infant’s warmth,
Its flaming but a part,
A small, sad part of Endless Love
That came on Christmas day
To show a mother wonder-bright
To guide us on our way.

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse

Blessed Jacopone da Todi OFM (1230-1306) Priest and Friar of the Order of the Friars Minor, Author of the “Stabat Mater,” Confessor, Hymnist, Poet, Musician, Mystic, Lawyer.

St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
Blessed Peter the Venerable (c 1092–1156) Abbot
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.

Posted in CHRISTMASTIDE!, DOCTORS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

25 December – The Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

25 December – The Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Today the Church celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ, the first day in the octave of Christmas.   Throughout Advent the Church longed ardently for the coming of our Saviour.   Today she celebrates His birth with unrestrained joy.   “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”   The Son of God became man to give us a share in that divine life which is eternally His in the Blessed Trinity.   Christmas time begins on 24 December with the first Vespers of the feast and ends on the feast of the Baptism of Christ.   White vestments reappear in our churches as a sign of joy.The Nativity of the Lordthe nativity of the lord.cropped

The Christmas feast is a festival full of joy.   The Eternal Word has become Man and dwells among us.   The longings of the patriarchs and prophets are fulfilled.   With the shepherds we hurry to the manger and adore the Incarnate Son of God, who for us and for our salvation descended upon earth.   The purpose of the Christmas feast is beautifully expressed in the Preface of the Nativity:   “For by the mystery of the Word made flesh the light of Thy glory hath shone anew upon the eyes of our mind;  so that while we acknowledge Him a God seen by men, we may be drawn by Him to the love of things unseen.”

Christmas says to us – alone we can’t profoundly change the world to remedy it.   Alone, we can make the world better or worse but we can’t save it.   Christ came therefore, because left to ourselves; we couldn’t escape the ‘mortal disease’ that has enveloped us from the first moment of conception in our mother’s womb.   This gives us hope, true hope and true Christian optimism:   I can’t do it but He is there!   This is the mystery of grace synthesised in the human figure of God incarnate.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day are moments of contemplation.   We consider, in many dimensions, the mystery of love that was incarnated for us.   First of all, we contemplate the light and joy, without forgetting Jesus and Mary’s sorrows and sufferings and the many difficulties that had surrounded them:  the cold, the uncomfortable place, the dangers….. It would be good to accompany these thoughts by reciting and meditating slowly on the Holy Rosary, preferably in front of a crib.  ‘Blessed grotto of Bethlehem that testified to the wonders!   Who, in this hour would not turn our hearts?   Who would not prefer the opulent palace of the King?’   (Abbot Guéranger, L’Anno Liturgico, Alba 1959 [orig. franc. 1841], I, p122).da vinci

Listen to the way that St Bonaventure, the seraphic doctor, invites us to contemplate this scene in his ‘Meditation on the life of Jesus Christ’:   ‘You have also lingered, bent your knee, adored the Lord God, venerated His Mother and greeted Joseph, the holy old man, with reverence.  Therefore, kiss the feet of the baby Jesus, who lies in the manger, and pray that the Holy Virgin will allow you to hold Him.   Take Him between your arms, hold Him and see His lovable face, kiss it with reverence and rejoice with Him.  You can do this because He has come to bring salvation to sinners and He has humbly conversed with them, finally giving Himself as food’. (cit. in Guéranger, pp 136-137)

Christmas also reminds us of the great mystery of God’s people, of the Church acquired through Christ’s blood, animated by the life giving Spirit, governed by the legitimate shepherds in communion with the successor of Peter.   On this day in which the Word came to earth, assuming human nature, body, and soul, how can we not think about His Mystical Body that is animated by the Holy Spirit?   ‘For this reason, by no weak analogy, [the Church] is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word.   As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body’ (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, n.8).Jacob_de_Backer_-_The_Nativity_-_WGA1127

Holy Christmas also reminds us of the mystery of Mary as Mother of God, mother of the Incarnated Word and mother of His mystical body, the Church.   Christmas encourages us to contemplate Jesus together with Mary, reflecting on Jesus with ‘His mother’, as recounted many times in the Gospels.   If our faith must be fully evangelical, it can not neglect a sane and profound devotion to the Mother of God, as she shows us the easiest way to reach Jesus.madonna and child - christmas day post

Happy Birthday Jesus, our Lord and our God!

For a post on the Tradition  Bible Time From the Creation to The Birth of Jesus go here: