Celebrating Christmas Home | Creighton University's Online Ministries

Each day of the Christmas season, 
we offer a brief Daily Prayer. 
For help in using the Daily Prayer,
 read this Guide to Daily Prayer.

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December 26 - 31

Daily Prayer:


Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
he angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you
who is Christ and Lord.

And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant
wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

Christmas is a Season, not simply one day

Nativity - St. John's at CreightonWhile so many of our cultures only celebrate the build-up to Christmas, as a faith community we celebrate Christmas for the next several weeks. And, there is much to celebrate here, much to enter into more deeply. Too often, the days before Christmas are too busy to enter into the meaning of this feast or to reflect on the daily scriptures and the graces that are offered us, in our concrete life circumstances. This first week is a time for us to enter into the stories of special saints who are associated with the Birth of our Lord because of their innocence: our first martyr and the Disciple Jesus loved. Next week, we return to stories of Jesus' life and ministry.

What this First Week Offers Us

Christmas Day, is the first day in the eight-day celebration of the Octave of Christmas. We take joy in the story of the nativity and of our savior's entrance into the world in the most humble of ways.

December 26, the day after Christmas, is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Martyr. The reading from Acts takes us into the story of his being stoned by an infuriated crowd.

December 27: On December 27th, we traditionally celebrate the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. This apostle's name is associated with the wonderful tradition and writings that receive his name. This week, our reflection is framed by the wonderful words of the First Letter of John and the story from the Fourth Gospel of Simon Peter and “the other disciple whom Jesus loved” ran to find the empty tomb on Easter morning.

On December 28th, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This celebration takes us back into the infancy narrative of Matthew. The account of how Jesus begins his journey to become one with us, is powerfully told as a journey of Jesus' entering into the journey of his people, with the flight into Egypt and the horrible slaughter of the innocent children. This very difficult scene is important for us to reflect upon as we imagine the unborn and the newly born who are so unjustly deprived of dignity and life today.

The Feast of the Holy Family is often celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas. When a Sunday does not occur between December 25 and January 1, this feast is celebrated on December 30 with only one reading before the Gospel. What family or faith community can't benefit from reflecting upon the Holy Family? This is not the time to reflect upon a "perfect family," but to ask ourselves how we might be blessed to reflect upon Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and ask ourselves what graces they could offer us. Holy Family - Murillo

And, this allows us a bit more time to reflect upon the Christmas story, including the everyday reality that was part of their lives as family - the patience, give and take, the self-sacrifice and the love that was a part of their very human interaction together, throughout what we call "the hidden life" of Jesus. That can include all the growing up years of Jesus' life, what their village was like and what ways they spoke with each other, as well as what difficulties they might have experienced.

These are all great ways for us to contemplate this feast. We can imagine what Jesus learned from both Mary and Joseph that prepared him for his life of proclaiming the coming of the Reign of God. Finally, we can imagine the death of Joseph and the life of Mary and Jesus after his death.

Monday, January 1st will be the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. It is also the World Day of Prayer for Peace.

We celebrate the Epiphany, in a week or so. We can draw great fruit from reflecting upon the readings and prayers of the days before Epiphany or the days after Epiphany.

This week we keep asking for the grace to celebrate his coming among us. Each of us can keep growing in a sense of freedom and joy over the gift we have been given to know God's love for us and presence with us more deeply. It is a week of gratitude.

However, if our celebration of the days before Christmas and Christmas Day itself were busy or even difficult, then this can be days of recovery and added time to let Our Lord come into our lives where we need him to come.

Make use of the other resources we offer here, on the left side of this page, or on the site index.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

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