Current Liturgical Season
We do not come to Christmas to pretend that the baby Jesus is born again this day. Nor do we pretend that on this day the baby Jesus is born in some mystical way in us. We come to Christmas looking for signs of Jesus’ presence manifested in our own life and age, in us and in the world around us.
While we have become accustomed in our society to celebrate Christmas as a single day with a rather large and frenetic build up, it is actually a season of the church year. It involves much more than a few fleeting minutes of joy at a baby’s birth, followed by presents and feasting. It is a series of celebrations – the birth of Jesus, the coming of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus – each teaching us something about who Jesus is in, and for, the world.
At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation, God With Us. A child is born who will change the world, not just a tiny corner with a select few of God’s children, but the whole world. And the child who will change the world is God’s Son, the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.
“The second great feast of the Christmas season that amplifies our awareness of the person of Jesus is the Western church’s separate celebration of the ancient Eastern feast of the Epiphany. While the Eastern church concentrates on the baptism of Jesus as the divine revelation of the holy Trinity, the Western church continues to maintain the story of the Magi. These foreign visitors, themselves alerted by strange manifestations of the stars in the heavens, like the shepherds, find their way to the Child and, the Scriptures say, 'to pay him homage' (Matt. 2:2).
The world recognizes the heavenly in this tiny Child. And the Child recognizes the people of God in them. This is not a Christian child only; this Child belongs to the world.”
Quotes taken from: The Liturgical Year: the Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister