Last Sunday, Christmas, was easy to explain: the Nativity of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary. Today’s a little less easy to explain—mostly because we celebrate several things with this feast. Let’s take a look:
New Year’s Day. This is really a secular observance. But, note the blessings from today’s first reading and psalm. Aren’t we calling God’s blessing, his grace and favor, on this particular moment in time? As we wait for those blessings, don’t we commit ourselves to using them well?
Christmas Octave. While the song sings of Twelve Days of Christmas, the liturgy marks eight days after our two greatest feasts— Christmas and Easter. What God gives in the birth—and in the death and resurrection—of his Son is too great to limit to merely one hour on one day. So, continue to celebrate God’s gift of himself. Mary, the Mother of God. In ancient today was the first and greatest day celebrated in honor of Mary. We celebrate her today in light of her most important gift—to be chosen to be the Mother of the Savior. Ask her prayers to help us appreciate the gift of her Son. Ask her prayers to help us live as his faithful disciples.
Jesus’ First Week. In the Jewish tradition, a boy was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth—and so was Jesus. This moment often marked the official naming of the child. As we recall his special day for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, let’s never forget how the God who chose them continues to choose us to be his people, his Church.
Praying for Peace. Since the time of Pope St Paul VI, New Year’s Day has been marked as a day to pray for peace. More than half a century later, how much our broken world still needs that prayer! Ask Mary, Queen of Peace, to pray with us and for us to her Son, the Prince of Peace.