Saturday, December 31, 2016

treasure Christmas in your heart

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
8th Day in the Octave of Christmas
1 January 2017
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas
Daily Readings

Happy New Year, or Merry Christmas?  Which is more important to say?

We might rather ask the question of what event is more important - the birth of Jesus or the dropping of the ball in Times Square.  As glittery and glamorous as that ball is, the birth of Jesus caused the world to explode much more dramatically.

So it's more important to say Merry Christmas today than to say Happy New Year.  Don't be bashful or awkward about saying Merry Christmas!  For to say Merry Christmas on January 1st is to say that the Christmas celebration gets deeper and more fruitful and more full and joyful, as it gets to its 8th day.  The number 8 is huge, remember.  In 7 days, God created the universe out of nothing.  But on the 8th day, he did something even more miraculous - he showed his face!

As the Gospel tells us, Mary pondered all these things in her heart.  As we should know, we are to contemplate Christmas for a minimum of 12 days!  So on the 8th day of Christmas we turn especially to her, knowing that we will not have a better Christmas than Mary is having.  Nobody knows how to welcome Jesus, how to allow Him to be born in the deep recesses of our souls, or allow our lives to be changed by contemplating his face, more than Mary.  So as Catholics we entrust the 8th day of Christmas to her, knowing that being with her is the surest path to our best Christmas ever.

The turning of the new year, and the 8th day of Christmas, is also Catholic Mother's Day!  Today's Marian celebration specifically names Mary as Theotokos - God bearer!  We honor as the Mother of God, which is to say so much more than Mary simply giving a human nature to Jesus.  It means that all of God the Father entrusts Himself to this daughter, all of God the Son is completely dependent upon this mom, and all of the Holy Spirit is espoused and made perfectly one with this woman and bride.  There is no greater honor given to motherhood than to say that Mary is the mother of a God who is a Father but has no father.  So Happy Mother's Day!

So don't just say Happy New Year this year - celebrate Christmas - to the end and in all its fullness, and with Mary, ponder these great mysteries in your heart!

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