The early part of the December calendar is full of meaningful liturgical feast days and memorials as we move into the heart of Advent on the way to Christmas. Of course, the season of Advent is about watching and waiting, but it is also about anticipation of the birth of Jesus
The anticipation builds as each of the calendar days of December is opened on the Advent Calendar to expose a special saying, or a piece of chocolate. If the one is not careful, these single-digit days of the month can pass by without mindfully considering their meaning and we’ll arrive at Christmas day almost unexpectedly. The remedy to making the Christmas Season (or, in this case, the pre-Christmas season: Advent) “last” is to celebrate the many feast days/memorials occurring in the church calendar as fully as possible. Some ideas:
- Read a daily Advent reflection from one of the many good sources available. The Little Book Series and Magnificat are popular.
2. Read the Mass readings for the day. There are some especially beautiful passages during this time, particularly from the Book of Isaiah – see more about the poetry of Isaiah here https://churchwonders.com/2020/11/27/hopeful-poetry-leading-to-christmas/
3. Attend an on-line Mass – one of the “good” by-products of the COVID-19 period is the increase in the number of churches offering on-line Masses – there are many and you can attend a service nearby or far away – maybe virtually attend a feast day Mass at the church which has the focus of the feast day as its patron. For example, the Feast Day celebration for Saint Francis Xavier at the Cathedral in Bangalore was a lovely ceremony for the patron Catholic missions. Read more about Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral here https://churchwonders.com/india-churches/saint-francis-xavier-cathedral-bangalore-india/
4. Write an entry each day in your journal or diary about these special days, and how they impacted your Advent. Such a practice will increase mindfulness, and focus on the meaning of these days.
Some of the special days during the first part of the December are as follows:
|Dec. 3rd||Saint Francis Xavier||One of the greatest Roman Catholic missionaries, St. Francis Xavier was part of the initial group of Jesuits with Saint Ignatius of Loyola.|
|Dec 6th||Saint Nicholas||The original Santa Claus who anonymously delivered small bags of money to the poor in the late 3rd century as the Bishop of Myra (Turkey).|
|Dec 7th||Saint Ambrose||The Bishop of Milan in 300 A.D., and a Doctor of the Church. St. Ambrose was a famous defender against the Arian heresy.|
|Dec 8th||Immaculate Conception||A great Marian doctrine indicating that the preparation of Our Lady as Jesus’ mother was underway from the first moment of her life. Read more at https://churchwonders.com/mary-saints/mother-mary/the-immaculate-conception/|
|Dec 9th||Saint Juan Diego||The Blessed Mother appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, a poor villager in Mexico who validated his story to a local bishop when fresh roses fell from his tilma. See Our Lady of Guadalupe below.|
|Dec 10th||Our Lady of Loreto||This new Advent memorial day was decreed by Pope Francis in 2019. The title given to Our Lady refers to her childhood house now located at the International Marian Shrine in Loreto, Italy. See the well-known litany to Our Lady of Loreto at https://churchwonders.com/devotions/litanies/the-litany-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/|
|Dec 12th||Our Lady of Guadalupe||In 1531, Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego on a hill called Tepeyac near Mexico City. She is the patroness of Mexico and The Americas; and many miracles are attributed to her intercession.|
Catholic Charities of Central Florida – https://cflcc.org