The Christmas season began with first Vespers on December 24, 2008 and ended 18 days later after the completion of second Vespers on Sunday, January 11, 2009, which was part of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. What a great 18 days!
I had both an active and contemplative Christmas season. The active part involved the traditional activities with family. But those active days also saw us helping family members who were ill (now all better) and I got ill (now all better). So part of the reasons for no blogs has been illness.
The silent contemplative part of the Christmas season also kept my attention on the season just ended.
The Christmas season is astounding. Very short yet packed with spiritual power: Nearly every free hour of mine was spent in monastic reading and the divine office, but mostly silence as I listened:
1. Birth of Jesus — Thursday 12/25,
2. Feast of St. Stephen who is honored as the first martyr on the day after Christmas — Friday 12/26,
3. John the Apostle — Saturday 12/27,
4. The Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) — Sunday 12/28,
5. Mary Mother of God — Thursday 1/1,
6. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors of the Church (Memorial) — Friday 1/2,
7. Epiphany (the “showing” “appearing” or “manifestation” of Jesus to the Magi) — Sunday 1/4,
8. Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist — Sunday 1/11
And there is more structure in the Christmas season I have not studied — for instance: the octaves and the various traditions where some of the feasts are transferred to another day during the season.
The scope of the Christmas season really overwhelmed me as I understood its broad content for the first time. I had a sense that I was being carried along far too fast without being able to stop and take in the sights.
So, the first two parts of the liturgical year (Advent and Christmas) have filled me with spiritual direction, I come out of those two seasons more convinced that silence is where to meet God this year.
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