WE BEGIN OUR CATECHISM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
TOPIC: CHRISTMAS SEASON
=> BRIEF HISTORY/ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS
=> CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND TREES
=> THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' INFANCY
Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus).
Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter itself.
It is the feast of the incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh (the Latin "in carne" means "enfleshment").
It is a uniquely Christian teaching, the Divine choosing to become one of us. Because of this belief,God is not only Transcendent, but also wholly Immanent, Emmanuel (God-with-us). While remaining Transcendent (meaning we must rise above our present condition to reach Him), He is at the same time Immanent (meaning He is with us as we rise toward Him).
Every Eucharist is like Christmas where the bread and wine are transformed into His flesh, His Body and Blood, and, in a sense, He is born anew on the altar.
BRIEF HISTORY/ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS
The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear. The New Testament provides no clues in this regard. December 25 was first identified as the date of Jesus’ birth by Sextus Julius Africanus in 221 and later became the universally accepted date.
One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer.
Indeed, after December 25 had become widely accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, Christian writers frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son.
A second view suggests that December 25 became the date of Jesus’ birth by a priori reasoning that identified the spring equinox as the date of the creation of the world and the fourth day of creation, when the light was created, as the day of Jesus’ conception (i.e., March 25). December 25, nine months later, then became the date of Jesus’ birth.
For a long time the celebration of Jesus’ birth was observed in conjunction with his baptism, celebrated January 6.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). But it was not an official Roman state festival at this time.
The Church primarily celebrates Christmas from Christmas Day until the Solemnity of the Epiphany, which commemorates the manifestation of Christ as the Savior of the whole world (cf. Mt. 2:1-12). The Church has also traditionally celebrated Christmas for 40 days, culminating on the Feast of the Presentation (Feb. 2). During this time, the birth of Christ is celebrated as one continuous festival. It is just as important to celebrate during the Christmas season as it is to prepare for Christ during Advent.
The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him... including the fact that he was born to die for us.
CHRISTMAS GIFTS AND TREES
Toward the end of the 18th century the practice of giving gifts to family members became well established. Theologically, the feast day reminded Christians of God’s gift of Jesus to humankind even as the coming of the Wise Men, or Magi, to Bethlehem suggested that Christmas was somehow related to giving gifts.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father's gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.
THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS'S INFANCY
* Jesus circumcision , on the eighth day after his birth, (Lk 2:21) is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham's descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law (Gal 4:4) and his deputation to Israel's worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that "circumcision of Christ" which is Baptism. (Col 2:11-13)
* The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. (Mt 2:1)
* The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. (Lk 2:22-39; Ex 13:2, 12-13) With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior-the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the "light to the nations" and the "glory of Israel",
* The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents (Mt 2:13-18) make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not."
Given the importance of Christmas as one of the major Christian feast days, most European countries observe, under Christian influence, December 26 as a second Christmas holiday.
So whenever you celebrate Christmas, remember that you're celebrating a real event that happened about 2000 years ago, that God sent his Son into the world as a Christmas present for everyone!
=> The Holy Bible
=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)
We have come to a conclusion on the topic CHRISTMAS SEASON.
Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
PLEASE WE ARE ENCOURAGE TO CONTRIBUTE AND ASK QUESTIONS IN REGARDS TO THIS GREAT TOPIC.
WE ARE CATHOLIC