January 8, 2017 – click on the following “link to read about today’s celebration: The Epiphany of the Lord
Isaiah 60:1-6 – Psalm 72 – Ephesians 3: 2-3, 5-6 – Matthew 2:1-12
“Behold, the Lord, the Mighty One, has come; and kingship is in his grasp, and power and dominion.”(Entrance Antiphon for today’s Liturgy.)
Thinking back to my growing up years I can see that my parents – although not religiously astute – were, nonetheless subtly aware of liturgical matters. In our house we had an Advent Wreath well before it was really popular. We never put up our Christmas tree until Xmas Eve. Then, probably in the days before evening Masses, each one of us children would then put our favorite ornament on the tree and then go to bed. It was our “childlike trust” that allowed us to believe the newborn Jesus finished decorating the tree which was like a miracle to us when we came down stairs on Christmas Morning!
And my mother always celebrated Epiphany which she called “Little Christmas” with a large family and friends party. Nowadays, so much of what my mother held on to, and considered “the right way to do it” has been lost to a kind of worldly convenience or marketing scheme. Whenever we reduce – or lose – the symbolic world we loose something more important than just the symbol. We loose a connection to a mystery that is then difficult to understand & grasp. Symbol and symbolic language is never intended to be scrutinized under a microscope but believed at the level of faith. Just look at all the Christmas stories & symbols – so many that have been diluted for convenience or some other reason – and you will see how much has been lost to a world that has also lost it’s belief in Jesus.
We hardly ever celebrate a real sense of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” which originally were seen as a way to let us “bask” in the glory of the Incarnation for 12 days. After all, it is an incredible event that breaks into to our otherwise mundane experience that should be celebrated with as much love as possible. Let us all do our best to keep Christ in Christmas. Amen!