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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

 


First Sunday After Christmas

THE HOLY FAMILY-feast of st. stephen-Kwanzaa

 

Wisdom, Chapter 17, Verse 12-15

12 For FEAR is nought but the surrender of the helps that come from reason; 13 and the more one’s expectation is of itself uncertain, the more one makes of not knowing the cause that brings on torment. 14 So they, during that night, powerless though it was, since it had come upon them from the recesses of a powerless Hades, while all sleeping the same sleep, 15 Were partly smitten by fearsome apparitions and partly stricken by their souls’ surrender; for fear overwhelmed them, sudden and unexpected.

 

A distressed conscience always magnifies misfortunes therefore terror is surrender to insanity, hence, when the terrors come reason that God is greater than the night.

 

Fear Reason and the Last Judgement

Vatican City, Dec 11, 2013 / 05:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In his general audience Pope Francis reflected that the reality of the Final Judgment allows us to trust in God even if we are afraid, emphasizing also that our judgment begins each day through the way we live. “Dear brothers and sisters, reflecting on the final judgment – despite that it instinctively raises a certain fear in us – gives elements of comfort and trust,”…“in life everlasting,”…“at Christ’s coming in glory as judge of the living and the dead, we will be held accountable before God for the good we have done or failed to do in this life.” We have the tendency to “regard this final judgment with trepidation, but the Church invites us to see it as a source of consolation and joyful hope.” Recalling how the early Christians communities used the Aramaic expression “Maranatha,” or “come, Lord!” in their liturgies, the Pope emphasized that this “encourages” us to think about the final judgment as a time when “we will be considered worthy to be clothed with glory and to enter the wedding feast with Christ, the Bridegroom.” Using the phrase “Maranatha” to “invoke Christ’s return, the early Christians hope for “the great wedding feast of a humanity reconciled with God. Looking to the moment when each of us will face our own judgment, we will not be alone,” and that this gives us a reason to be consoled because “Jesus, our advocate with the Father, will be at our side, together with all the saints.” In that moment, he stated, “we will be able to count on the intercession and benevolence of so many of our brother saints, who have preceded us in the path of faith.” Another element that allows us to be comforted “is the idea that the judgment starts now through the way which we live, through our existence,” “God’s judgment takes place in our lives each day, by the way in which we respond to Christ’s teaching and imitate him in serving our brothers and sisters.” “Jesus constantly gives us so we can be filled with the Father’s mercy, and we have the responsibility to open ourselves up to that grace or, on the contrary, be closed and exclude ourselves from communion with God.”

“Let us prepare, then,” encouraged the Pope, to meet our judge with confidence and joyful trust in his promises.”

“Do not be afraid of this executioner, but be worthy of your brothers and accept death, so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them." (2 Mc.7:29)

ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY[1]

Sunday assemblies without a priest

53. There remains the problem of parishes which do not have the ministry of a priest for the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. This is often the case in young Churches, where one priest has pastoral responsibility for faithful scattered over a vast area. However, emergency situations can also arise in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, where diminishing numbers of clergy make it impossible to guarantee the presence of a priest in every parish community. In situations where the Eucharist cannot be celebrated, the Church recommends that the Sunday assembly come together even without a priest, in keeping with the indications and directives of the Holy See which have been entrusted to the Episcopal Conferences for implementation. Yet the objective must always remain the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, the one way in which the Passover of the Lord becomes truly present, the only full realization of the Eucharistic assembly over which the priest presides in persona Christi, breaking the bread of the word and the Eucharist. At the pastoral level, therefore, everything has to be done to ensure that the Sacrifice of the Mass is made available as often as possible to the faithful who are regularly deprived of it, either by arranging the presence of a priest from time to time, or by taking every opportunity to organize a gathering in a central location accessible to scattered groups.

Christ taken to the Ends of the Earth-December 1973[2]

On Sunday, it was my chance to make a phone patch to my parents everything worked great but then I found out they changed their number. What! Here I was in Antarctica working my ass off; freezing my ass off and my alcoholic Father changed the phone number and to make matters worse I knew nothing of what was going on with my parents because they hadn’t written me in the two years I had been in the Navy. I thought, “That’s it, I am an orphan.” After my failed phone patch, I went to Mass. The Catholic Priest from McMurdo took a flight up to bring us Holy Communion. We had not been able to receive Communion since we left. I felt good after receiving Our Lord. I thought that even though I had no communication with my physical Father I did have communication with my eternal Father. Afterwards I showed the Priest around the site, before he left, he said that he had a letter from the Bishop which gave me permission (Back then only Priests could give communion) to secure and give Holy Communion to the Catholic Boys there at the South Pole. I didn’t feel worthy; come on this is Richard you know; but the Priest convinced me that it was the only way, and I did want to bring “Our Lord” to my fellow brothers in Christ. I thought about my experiences in Barbados, West Indies where I had a friendly relationship with a Jesuit Priest on the Island. I was stationed in Barbados after “A-School;” just prior to my assignment with MCB 71. It was luck or maybe providence that I got my first assignment to Barbados, West Indies. At the end of “A School”, I ended up having the highest-grade average-probably due to I studied and drank less than the others drank. The Chief had six orders for Vietnam and one set of orders for Barbados. I was given the orders to Barbados. It was while I was in Barbados that I was examining my Catholic Faith and was considering a faith change because I was also involved with a non-Catholic Pentecostal religious group and because my Father had not practiced the Catholic Faith. I was at a point where I had to decide to be a Catholic or not. I was praying about it and one night I had a horrid dream where a horribly disfigured face appeared in white on a dark background. I woke up in a sweat. I was disturbed by the thought of this vision. I got on my motorcycle and rode around the island. It was a four-hour ride. At the end of the ride, I passed a church and turned around to go in and pray. I knew I needed God in my life. After a short prayer, I was walking out of the church and there right next the exit door in a pamphlet rack, at eye level was the face in my dream. I was shocked, I pulled the pamphlet out and trembling read that this was the image of the reported face of Christ. It was on the burial cloth of Christ and was stored in a Catholic Church in Italy. I decided God was calling me back to the Catholic Faith. Why me? Why did he appear to me sinner that I was; I knew not. Yet, because of the memory of this call from Christ, I knew I had to consent to bring his precious body to my brother Seabees. The priest also left me a book to read. The book explained the Catholic faith. As I read it, I knew and understood my faith better. I was especially taken by an Old Catholic symbol, and I drew it on a small red flag and wore that symbol on my back declaring myself an ICEMAN for Christ. The symbol means “Jesus Christ Conqueror” Now instead of a blue ribbon of pain. I had a flag for victory. I still was the same old sinner, but the flag reminded me of God’s ever presence, even here at the bottom of the world.

Sunday after Christmas[3] 

Introit of the Mass. 

WHILE all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Thy almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from heaven, from Thy royal throne (Wis. xviii. 14, 15). “The Lord has reigned; He is clothed with beauty; the Lord is clothed with strength, and hath girded Himself” (Ps. xcii. 1). 

Prayer. 

Almighty and eternal God direct our actions so as to be pleasing to Thee, that, in the name of Thy beloved Son, we may deserve to abound in good works. 

EPISTLE. Gal. iv. 1-7. 

Brethren: As long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all: but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father: so we also, when we were children, were serving under the elements of the world. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. Therefore, now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also, through God. 

How are we to understand the words, “God sent His Son, made under the law, that He might redeem them who were under the law?” 

St. Paul here speaks to such Christians among the Galatians as were formerly Jews, and who supposed themselves yet bound to keep the observances of the Law of Moses; he shows them that by His death on the cross He dispensed with the Law, abolished its types and ceremonies, and redeemed the Jews from the curse and bondage to which it subjected them, delivering them thereby from sin and eternal death. We have received still greater favors than the Jews, because in our ancestors we were converted from Paganism to Christianity, and from children of the devil were made by faith heirs of God. Let us show how we value such blessings by living as children of God, in faith, love, confidence, patience, and innocence, shunning sin as the only real evil; unless we would forfeit our name and privileges as Christians, and voluntarily become a second time the slaves of the devil. 

GOSPEL. Luke ii. 33-40. 

At that time Joseph and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His Mother: Be hold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts’ thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was far advanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and four years, who departed not from the temple, by fastings and prayers serving night and day. Now she at the same hour coming in, confessed to the Lord; and spoke of Him to all that looked for the redemption of Israel. And after they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong, full of wisdom: and the grace of God was in Him. 

Why did Mary and Joseph wonder at these things? 

They were filled with joyous wonder that Simeon was enabled by divine inspiration to recognize the child Jesus as the promised Messiah, and to say such great things of Him. 

What does it mean to bless? 

To give or wish something good to anyone; in the first of these senses God alone blesses, because all goods of soul or body which we have, or wish to have, come from Him; in the second sense, angels and men may bless us, in wishing us whatever is good, and in praying for it to God. 

Have we examples of blessing in Scripture? 

Yes, an angel blessed Jacob (Gen. xxxii. 29); Jacob, when dying, blessed his children and grandchildren (Gen. xlviii. 15); Melchisedech blessed Abraham (Gen. xiv. 19); Rebecca was blessed by her brother (Gen. xxiv. 60); and the priests blessed the people. Our Savior also blessed His disciples with up lifted hands. 

Is it good for parents to bless their children? 

Yes, for God fulfils blessings of good parents, as He did those, for example, of the patriarchs Isaac and Jacob. “The father’s blessing establisheth the houses of the children, but the mother s curse rooteth up the foundations”; (Eccles. iii. 11). 

What virtue is there in the priest’s blessing? 

Very great virtue: because it is given in the name of the Church, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and comes from God Himself, whose ministers and stewards the priests are. Parents should see that their children are blessed by the priests who may come to visit them, as the children were brought to Our Savior, that He might lay His hands on them, and bless them (Matt. xix. 13). 

How is Christ the fall and resurrection of many in Israel? 

He is the fall, that is, the damnation, of those who do not receive Him, though they know Him to be the Savior of the world; and of those also who believe in Him, and receive His holy teaching, but do not live according to it. “If Christ had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin”; (St. John xv. 22). He is the resurrection or salvation of those who believe in Him, receive His doctrine, and live according to it. 

What is the meaning of, “He is a sign which shall be contradicted?” 

This was a prophecy that Jesus Christ, His life, works, teaching, and institutions should be the object of continual contradiction on the part of sensual and worldly wisdom. It was fulfilled in the blasphemies and persecutions of the Jews and gentiles, and is confirmed by infidels of all ages, as well as by those Christians who, as St. Bernard says, contradict His humility by their pride, His poverty by their avarice, His fasting by their intemperance, His purity by their impurity, His zeal by their sloth; thus, confessing Him with their lips, but denying Him by their deeds. They are not faithful and sincere towards Jesus, and do not love Him, for they do not obey His holy will; they are Christians only in name, of whom Christ is not the resurrection, but the fall, for they are yet the slaves of sin. 

What is meant by those words, “thy own soul a sword shall pierce?” 

That Mary would have to suffer inexpressible pains and sorrows that would pierce her heart as with a sword. 

Time made this plain; for how often was not her beloved Son pursued and persecuted? 

Yet the greatest grief she felt must have been when she saw her Son in His sufferings and death, hanging, like a malefactor, on the cross.

     What else is to be learned from this gospel? 

First, widows may learn from Anna, who departed not from the temple, how to serve God, by fasting and prayer, “for the widow that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living (i. Tim. v. 6). Secondly, parents may learn to be careful that their children increase not only in skill and wealth, but rather in the grace of God, by living pious, edifying, and peaceable lives before God and men. 

Exhortation 

Today is the last Sunday in the year. Ponder with care on the truths and doctrines which the holy Church has laid before thee in the epistles and gospels; thank God with thy whole heart for the great favors and benefits which thou hast received in the incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ; examine thyself also whether thy faith is living and efficient, that thou mayest have the hope of being a child and heir of God; ask thyself whether, during the past year, Christ has been thy fall or thy resurrection? hast thou confessed Him in heart and deed, or hast thou been a Christian only in name? With such exercises and examinations occupy thy mind until the New Year, that thou mayest be prepared to begin it worthily. 

Feast of the Holy Family[4]

According to the Mosaic Law, a Hebrew boy was not part of the family until he was circumcised eight days after his birth; only then was he given his name, i.e., his identity as an individual and as a son of Abraham. But there is a deeper reason as well. Paradoxically, it is only after we have contemplated the various revelations of the Light to both Jew and Gentile that we can appreciate the period of Jesus' life that is shrouded in obscurity. It is because we now know who the boy Jesus truly is that we can understand the importance of His family and the excellence of His so-called hidden life. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, we now recognize Him as the Messiah for whom the Jews yearned; like the Magi, whose gifts bespoke their convictions, we now recognize Him as a King worthy of gold, as God worthy of frankincense, and as the Suffering Servant to be one day buried with myrrh. And like the Blessed Virgin, who -- as we learn from the Gospel on this feast-- kept all these things in her heart, we are now in a position to appreciate the unique role of His Holy Family in the economy of our salvation. The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph holds up the domestic life of Jesus, his mother, and foster father as the perfect model for all Catholic households. As Pope Leo XIII explains, there is a lesson in this family for everyone: for fathers, for mothers, for children; for nobility (the Holy Family was from the royal house of David), for the poor (they gave up their possessions in fleeing to Egypt), and so on. There are no prescribed or uniform customs for the feast, but that does not mean no observances were made. The following is an account from Father Weiser of Holy Family Sundays at our own parish, Holy Trinity German Church, in the 1940s.

The annual Holy Childhood procession, on the feast of the Holy Family, is one of the most attractive ceremonies. In former years this procession was called the "Shepherds' Procession" as the children marched through the church dressed as shepherds and shepherdesses -- a lovely relic of popular medieval piety (Holy Trinity Parish, 1844-1944, p. 37).

This feast is also an ideal time to pray any of the devotions to the Holy Family that are given in the Raccolta, the Church's old official list of indulgences. The fact that many of these prayers are no longer indulgenced does not make them any less meaningful or worthy of use. Let us reflect that the Holy family was holy because of how they interacted with each other and the world. 

A good practice during the twelve nights of Christmas would be to turn off the TV and to rest and have joyful prayer with the family.  It is good to remember that Christ’s primary teachers in the faith were Joseph and Mary.  We also should remember to not rely on schools to bring up our children in devotion to the Lord and that we are the primary teachers of Faith, Hope and Love in our families (Especially in light of COVID 19)

Things to Do[5]

·       Let us imitate the Holy Family in our Christian families, and our family will be a stronghold and a prefiguration of the heavenly family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Also pray for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond which is under attack.

·       Read more about Pope Leo XIII who instituted the Feast of the Holy Family and read his encyclical On Christian Marriage. You can also check out the Vatican's page of Papal documents on the Family.

·       Read the explanation of Jesus' knowledge in the activities section. Read Pope Pius X's Syllabus of Errors which condemns the modernist assertion that Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

·       Have the whole family participate in cooking dinner. You might try a Lebanese meal. Some suggestions: stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage rolls, lentils and rice, spinach and meat pies, chicken and dumplings, hummus, Lebanese bread, tabbouleh — a Lebanese salad and kibbi, a traditional Lebanese dish of specially ground meat mixed with spices and cracked wheat. This is the same kind of food that Mary served Jesus and St. Joseph. It's healthy and delicious.

Christmas Calendar[6] 

Read: Today, we honor the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Take time to read Pope Francis's homily on the Feast of the Holy Family in 2014. The ideas and messages he presented are still relevant today. 

Reflect: "Christmas celebrates the fruit of Mary and Joseph's trust in God. The long-awaited Messiah, sent to save us from our sins and win back the eternal blessedness lost by Adam's sin, is born. The Son of God is like us in all things but sin. We learn from the Incarnation that our success is in God's hands. Without the Father's love, we would be lost for all eternity. Mary and Joseph sacrificed greatly to make the arduous journey to Bethlehem, to obey God's directive to flee into Egypt, and to go to Nazareth to raise Jesus. Ambiguity, uncertainty, and brokenness touched the Holy Family. Their lives teach us that we cannot understand God's designs. This wonderful lesson urges parents to put their families in God's hands and trust that their efforts will bear fruit. Faithful parents are examples for us, single or married. We, too, are to put ourselves in God's hands. In so doing, God's grace helps us realize better the depths of who we are and what we are called to become." 

Pray: Pray for families

Act: "A few minutes can be found each day to come together before the living God, to tell him our worries, to ask for the needs of our family, to pray for someone experiencing difficulty, to ask for help in showing love, to give thanks for life and for its blessings, and to ask Our Lady to protect us beneath her maternal mantle." —Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, no. 318 

At the start of this New Year, make a commitment to pray together as a family every day.

Feast of Saint Stephen[7]

THE epistle of to-day contains a short account of the life and sufferings of this saint. It only remains to be added that, on account of his virtues, his wisdom, and his zeal for the faith, the apostles thought him worthy to be chosen the first of the seven deacons, whose office it was, in addition to the preaching of the word of God, to serve the poor, and properly to distribute the alms of the faithful. The Introit says: Princes sat and spoke against me, and the wicked persecuted me; help me, O Lord my God, for Thy servant was employed in Thy justifications. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 

Prayer. 

Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to imitate what we honor, that we also may learn to love our neighbors, as we celebrate the feast of Him Who knew how to beseech even for His persecutors. Amen.

EPISTLE. Acts vi. 8-10; vii. 54-59.

In those days: Stephen full of grace and fortitude did great wonders and signs among the people. Now there arose some of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. Arid they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: Be hold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and with one accord ran violently upon him. And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, invoking, and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.

Instruction.

Stephen is unjustly persecuted; yet he prays for his persecutors. Can we excuse ourselves if we do not love our enemies? Were not Stephen, and others who have imitated him, men like ourselves? With the grace of God, could not we do what they have done? Could we call ourselves Christians were we not to do this? No; for the love of our neighbor, and of our enemy also, is the chief token of the Christian; since it is only by this love that we become like Christ, and resemble our heavenly Father, Who makes His sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rains upon the just and upon the unjust (Matt. v. 45). Let us, therefore, imitate the love of God, of Christ, and of St. Stephen, and then we may one day be able to give up our souls with calmness into the hands of our Maker.

GOSPEL. Matt, xxiii. 34-39.

At that time Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees: Behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes : and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not! Behold your house shall be left to you desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see Me henceforth till you say: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Those in our days who stone and kill the prophets and preachers are those who, by their evil backbiting, defame their pastors, who mock at and despise preachers and sermons; for to the servants of God this is a great torment and source of grief; it destroys their courage and paralyzes their efficiency. On this account it provokes the anger of God, as through the prophets He often told the Jews.

Supplication to St. Stephen.

O St. Stephen, first of the martyrs, who wast filled with fortitude, grace, and love, whose guiltless face shone like the face of a pure angel, I beseech thee, by the grace which rendered thee worthy to see heaven opened and Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father, that thou wouldst, by thy prayers, procure for me from God a pure conscience, and a holy, meek love, that like thee I may readily forgive those who injure me; may pray for them; may not only desire for them whatever is good, but may do them good indeed, and thereby merit the grace of a happy death. Amen.

Stephan First Martyr[8]

Today is the second day in the octave of Christmas. The Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners. He was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles; he was "filled with faith and with the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude." The Church draws a comparison between the disciple and his Master, emphasizing the imitation of Christ even unto the complete gift of self. His name is included in the Roman Canon.

Saint Stephen is the patron of stonemasons, masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. His story comes from the Acts of the Apostles. He is usually pictured in deacon's vestments, holding the symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand, to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos meaning "wreath."

"If you know what witness means, you understand why God brings St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents to the crib in the cave as soon as Christ is born liturgically. To be a witness is to be a martyr. Holy Mother Church wishes us to realize that we were born in baptism to become Christ — He who was the world's outstanding Martyr." — Love Does Such Things, by Rev. M. Raymond, O.C.S.O.

·       Day Two activity (Boxing Day) (Christmas Drama)

·       Day Two recipe (St. Stephen's Horns)

St. Stephen’s Day and the horses[9]

Though there is no historical connection, St. Stephen is considered the patron saint of horses. Scholars speculate that this has something to do with the relief from work that domestic animals enjoyed during Twelfth night; in any case, horse parades or horse races were always held on this day. One custom in rural areas was for the horses to be decorated and taken to the church, where the priest would bless them. Afterwards, they would be ridden around the church three times. Horse's food (hay or oats) is also blessed on this day.

NOTA BENE: In the eleventh century, the Church instituted special feast days during the Christmas Octave for various ecclesiastical ranks. Today, on the day in which one of the first seven deacons was martyred, was the festival for deacons.

The Twelve Days of Christmas[10]


But what exactly are the Twelve Days of Christmas? They are the days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany that constitute an unbroken period of joy and celebration. Epiphany is considered the twelfth day of Christmas (in fact it is sometimes called "Twelfth Day") while the Eve of Epiphany is called "Twelfth Night." Shakespeare's play, "Twelfth Night," takes its name from the Vigil because during this period festivals (such as the Feast of Fools or the Feast of the Ass) used to be held in which everything was turned upside-down -- a little like the reversed identities of the characters in the play. These "preposterous" observances, incidentally, were a joyful mimicry of the inversion of almighty God becoming a lowly man, of the King appearing as a humble infant. The twelve nights of Christmas were primarily a time of rest from unnecessary labor and joyful prayer. On each of these nights the Christmas tree lights and the Christmas candle would be lit, while the family would gather around the manger to recite prayers and sing carols and hymns. Similar services are held in some churches during these nights as well. Several saints' days which fall within the Octave of Christmas are also a part of the Twelve Days.

Two Turtle Doves

Today is the second day of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves from the song the 12 days of Christmas represent the two parts of the Sacred Scriptures: the old and New Testament.

Kwanzaa[11] 

Also, today is another agnostic, culturally correct day, designed to minimize the true meaning of Christmas and confuse children about the good news of the season. 

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African celebration of family, community and culture. Kwanzaa, a week-long cultural festival from the 26th of December to the 1st of January that climaxes in feasts and gift giving, was initially established to unite African Americans with their African roots and heritage.  Nguzo Saba, the seven principles that guide the holiday, is central to Kwanzaa as a different principle is emphasized every day during the celebration. Celebrants often dress in traditional Pan-African clothing and decorate their homes in African artwork. Kwanzaa was created in 1965 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a major figure in the Black Power movement, with the intention of providing African Americans with a link to their ancestral heritage. Karenga aimed to bring together African Americans as a community through the combination of various aspects of other celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and African Yam Festivals. Since Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, not a religious one; it can be celebrated by Africans from all religious backgrounds. 

Kwanzaa Facts & Quotes 

·       The name Kwanzaa is derived from Matunda ya kwanza, which in Swahili means first fruits.  Kwanzaa is based on the Ashanti and Zulu traditions of first fruit harvest celebrations.

·       Each day of Kwanzaa celebrates one of 7 principles, known as Nguzo Saba.  These include Unity, Self-determination, Collective work and responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. The colors of Kwanzaa are black, red and green.  Each color carries an important meaning to unify those of African descent.  Black is for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all people of African descent and green for the land of Africa. A candle holder, called a Kinara, holds the seven candles that represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 

Kwanzaa Top Events and Things to Do 

·       Read about the seven principles of Kwanzaa with your family.  These principles teach about working together, learning from the past and strengthening bonds.

·       Attend a Kwanzaa celebration event.

·       Prepare a festive Kwanzaa dinner.  Include Kwanzaa foods include:
1) Shisa nyama (meat cooked over a hot wood fire).
2) Kapenta with sadza (kapenta is a freshwater fish and sadza is a maize porridge).
3) Nyama na irio (mashed potatoes, peas, corn and onion served with spicy roast meat).

·       Give festive Kwanzaa gifts to your friends and family.  Some traditional gifts include a food basket, kinara candle holder, books about African culture and handwoven items like gloves and scarves.

·       Watch “The Black Candle” (2008).  This is a vibrant and powerful documentary that illuminates the African American experience from the perspective of Kwanzaa.  Narrated by Dr. Maya Angelou (poet), the documentary won the award for best full-length documentary at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival in 2009. 

Daily Devotions

·       Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.

·       Unite in the work of the Porters of St. Joseph by joining them in fasting: Today's Fast: The sanctification of the Church Militant.

·       Offering to the sacred heart of Jesus

·       Make reparations to the Holy Face

·       Drops of Christ’s Blood

·       Christmas Novena

·       Rosary



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