As of this past Sunday, in both the old and new calendars, the Season of Advent has commenced! Wishes to all for a holy and blessed Advent which draws you closer to the Christ Child! (Please see prayer on Home page.) Lent is a time when we practice sacrifices of self-denial. Perhaps during Advent, our sacrifices may be ones of charity-almsgiving and good works. We may consider volunteer work, cleaning out the old clothes in our closets and giving them to the poor, visiting a homebound neighbor down the block, etc. Admittedly, Christmastime is often a time of stress and feeling like we have too much to do. But if the very celebration of the Birth of Christ prevents us from exercising charity...then something is wrong. We all need to downscale. Also...spiritual reading, the rosary and learning Christmas hymns....children should learn the words to our beautiful hymns and they will likely remember them for a lifetime!
As for the liturgical calendar of December, it is unique in several ways. Aside from the great feast of Christmas, we also have the Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with the feast of the Holy Family. We have the Sundays of Advent when we light the pink and purple candles and the Ember Days of Advent, when we beseech God's mercy and blessings for the coming season of winter. We have several feasts of the time of Our Lord and the time of the Old Testament....5 Doctors of the Church and December 13th, devoted to 2 saints invoked for blindness! Here's our sampling....
12/3-Saint Francis Xavier, Priest-patron of missions
12/4-Saint John Damascene, Priest, Doctor/Saint Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Doctor/Saint Barbara, Virgin, Martyr-invoked against lightning
12/6-Saint Nicholas, Bishop-patron of children, bakers, pawnbrokers, mariners & Russia
12/7-Saint Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor-patron of candlemakers/Vigil of the Immaculate Conception-trad meat at one meal
12/8-Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the United States of America-Holy Day of Obligation
12/9-Saint Juan Diego, Seer of Our Lady of Guadalupe
12/11-Gaudete Sunday, 3rd Sunday of Advent-a day to remember the joy of our coming Savior!
12/12-Our Lady of Guadalupe, Empress of the Americas
12/13-Saint Lucy, Virgin, Martyr-patron of the blind/Saint Odilia, Virgin-invoked against blindness (non-standard)
12/14-Ember Wednesday in Advent-trad meat at one meal/Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor
12/16-Ember Friday in Advent/Saints Ananias, Azarius & Misael, Companions of Patriarch Daniel (non-standard)
12/17-Ember Saturday in Advent-trad meat at one meal/Saint Lazarus, Friend of Our Lord, Brother of Saints Martha & Mary-raised from the dead by Christ (non-standard)
12/20-Saints Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, Patriarchs (non-standard)
12/21-Saint Thomas the Apostle, Martyr-Apostle of India, baptized the Magi/Saint Peter Canisius, Priest, Doctor
12/24-Saints Adam & Eve (non-standard)/Vigil of Christmas-trad meat at one meal
12/25-The Birth of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, Christmas
12/26-Saint Stephen, First Martyr-patron of stonemasons, due to the fact that he was stoned to death
12/27-Saint John the Evangelist, Apostle-Writer of Holy Scripture, patron of theologians & Asia Minor
12/28-Holy Innocents, Martyrs under King Herod the Great, re-builder of the Holy Temple
12/29-Saint David the King, Patriarch (non-standard)
12/30-The Holy Family
(this blog provides both old & new feasts)