Celebrating Christmas Home | Creighton University's Online Ministries
Each day of the Christmas
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
January 1 - 7
in the U.S.
And in other countries where Epiphany is
celebrated on Friday, January 6th.
rescue the poor when he cries out,
The Second Week of Christmas
Sunday, January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. It is also the World Day of Prayer for Peace, and since it is commemorating the naming day of Jesus, it is the feast from which the Society of Jesus takes its name.
Next week, we celebrate the Epiphany - on January 6th in most of the world and on January 8th in the U.S. We can draw great fruit from reflecting upon the readings and prayers of the days before Epiphany or the days after Epiphany.
But it is wonderful to pay attention to several themes throughout this week. The first letter of John fills this week with the language of God's love for us. This leads to simple, but deep, reflection on the love we must have for our brothers and sisters. The celebration of and preparation for Epiphany colors the week with images of light, and a number of themes related not only to revelation and seeing, but also to baptism itself. Throughout this week, we ask for graces and continue to celebrate with joy.
This week we continue to reflect on the coming of our Lord among us. The week contains two celebrations of epiphanies. An epiphany is a showing, a revelation, a manifestation. The day we call the Feast of the Epiphany makes use of Matthew's account of the Magi, the wise seers from the East to whom are revealed the good news of our salvation. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord represents another epiphany. When Jesus comes out of the water, which he enters to symbolize the completeness of his entry into our lives, a voice from heaven makes known to us who Jesus is: "My beloved Son." After all these years of waiting and longing, after all the promises and hopes, he is here - born into conflict, baptized in the Jordan - for us all.
The other part of the process of revelation, of showing, of epiphany, is the part where we observe, recognize, take it in, and receive the good news as it is given to us. When we receive the gift, the gift giving is complete. When we recognize the one revealed, the epiphany is accomplished. When we accept who God is for us in Jesus, we let the Spirit give life to our salvation.
The continuing readings from the First Letter of John are perfect to grow in a sense of how loved we are and how we are called to love. The gospels this week manifest to us a Lord who is full of compassion, who feeds the hungry and heals the sick.
This is a powerful way to end the Christmas season and, long after the wrapping paper is thrown away, to look back and give thanks for the real gifts we have received this year.