It is Advent! And....December is the Month of the Divine Infancy

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)

Another Great Website for Gifts.....

I AlWAYS buy my Catholic wall calendar from TAN Books. I just purchased the "Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy Wall Calendar 2016." What I love about TAN's calendars is that they contain daily feasts in both the old and new calendars and also traditional observations such as the Ember Days. Other calendars they are offering for 2016 are: The Angels, The Life of Our Lord, Mary & the Saints and a Daily Planner. The artwork is superb and uplifting-a benefit to any Catholic home and an educational aid as well.

TAN Books is a wonderful resource for Catholic books, courses and homeschooling supplies. They always offer great sales as well. Religious items as Christmas gifts helps to turn the tide away from the materialistic attitude toward Christmas. This culture needs to be reminded that the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord is a holy day, not a holiday. Let us, in our devout celebration of this great feast, secure some measure of Divine Mercy for our ailing world.

PS Today is the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Traditionally, no meat was eaten today. Immaculate Conception, Pray for Us!