Unless you know your liturgical calendar, you may think Christmas ends on December 26th. Or maybe you think it lasts for 12 days because of the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Well, guess what. You are invited to celebrate Christmas for 40 days until February 2nd!
I know a priest whose homilies all came straight from the writings of a priest and abbot named Prosper Louis Pascal Gueranger (1805-1875) who came from the Benedictine Order. Quotes in today’s article come from his work called, “The Liturgical Year.”
The Church has endured changes since the Second Vatican Council, but we have a long history of traditionally celebrating Christmas all the way to the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 2nd. Let’s look together at the beauty of having forty days of Christmas.”Our sweet Infant Jesus, who is still lying in the humble crib, is each day gaining strength.”
1. Something to adore, longer
Any baby who is forty days old is still considered a baby. And still very cute. So don’t complain that a forty-day Christmas season is unreasonable—keep the cute Christ child around all of the season!
2. Fresh baptismal water
At Jesus’s baptism, the waters receive from him the sanctifying power and becomes a prolific source of supernatural life.”
Jesus was baptized when he was thirty years old, but most catholics are baptized as infants! And it is a surviving tradition to make brand new Holy Water for Christmas. Another good reason to celebrate this during the Christmas season.
3. Preparation for the wedding banquet
The Three Wise Men go into “the holy cave of Bethlehem, there to offer our gifts to the Divine Infant.” There is a deep spiritual connection here. Our gifts that we bring to the Infant Jesus, along with the gifts from the Magi, are like wedding gifts for the wedding between the Bride (us, the Church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus). Note that Jesus’s first miracle at the Wedding in Cana is celebrated also during the forty days of Christmas.Our gifts that we bring to the Infant Jesus, along with the gifts from the Magi, are like wedding gifts for the wedding between the Bride and the Bridegroom. Click To Tweet
4. More than just for the occasion
During the Christmas season, as we are celebrating the wedding at Cana, we also celebrate “the Bridegroom revealing himself to the Spouse.” Now check out another mind blowing connection. The wine was had run out is supplied by Jesus on another level. Wine comes from grapes. Grapes come from vines. “The true vine is our Jesus and he called himself by that name.”
5. Two doves
“The parents took two tender little milk-white doves, which they offered for Jesus, and which, by the prescription of the Law, were consumed in a holocaust.”
On the traditional last day of the Christmas season, February 2, we celebrate the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This quote is from a hymn prayed on this feast day. Notice “two tender little milk-white doves” sounds like “two turtle doves.” In fact, there is another prayer on this feast day that does indeed use the words, “a pair of turtle-doves.”
6. Who can help but love babies!
“Under the form of Infancy, in order that thou mightest draw us to thyself by the simplicity and loveliness of that tender age. Encouraged by thy sweetness; we have come to thee; we have dared to approach thy crib, and there we have taken up our abode.”
If God is trying every way to get us to love him, it makes sense that one of the ways he tries is through a baby which most people can’t help but love.
7. More quality time with our mother
“O Mother of God, thou hast affectionately welcomed us at the crib of thy divine son; thou hast received us as a brethren of thy Jesus.”
Can you imagine what it would have been like to visit Jesus like the Three Wise Men? They had to go through Mary, first. And the Virgin Mother must have be incredibly warm upon that encounter with the Magi as well as with us.