DPPL 106-107: Christmastide

STA altar at night smallTwo sections give an overview of the Christmas season. And friends, think season not day. The season contains two anchors: the nativity and the revelation to the world:

106. During Christmastide, the Church celebrates the mystery of the Lord’s manifestation: his humble birth in Bethlehem which was made known to the shepherds, the first of Israel to welcome the Savior; the Epiphany to the three wise men who had “come from the East” (Mt 2,1), the first of the Gentiles who recognized and adored Christ the Messiah in the child of Bethlehem; the theophany at the river Jordan in which the Father declares that Jesus is His “well-beloved Son” (Mt 3, 17) at the outset of his messianic mission; the miracle of Cana in which Jesus “manifested his glory and his disciples believed in him” (John 2,11).

Eastern tradition sees the manifestation to the magi and Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan as two aspects of one reality, the theophany.

There are other feasts in Christmas, playing a role not unlike the Immaculate Conception in Advent, intensifying the season’s meaning and inviting a deeper contemplation of just what it means for God to come to Earth in the flesh:

107. In addition to these celebrations recalling the primary meaning of Christmas, there are also other celebrations closely connected with the mystery of the Lord’s manifestation: the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents (28 December) whose blood was shed because of hatred for Jesus and because of Herod’s rejection of his lordship; the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus, 13 January; the feast of the Holy Family (Sunday in the octave of Christmas) celebrating the holy family in which Jesus “grew in wisdom and grace before God and (people)” (Lk 2, 52); the solemnity of the 1 January which recalls the divine, virginal and salvific motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, although outside of Christmastide, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (2 February), celebrating the encounter between the Messiah and his people, represented by Simeon and Anna, and the prophecy of Simeon.

A forty-day span from the nativity in Bethlehem to the reception by Simeon and Anna in the Temple. Quite a period for popular piety to emerge–not just one day.

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to DPPL 106-107: Christmastide

  1. Liam says:

    IIRC, in the Byzantine-derived traditions, the Adoration of the Magi is also remembered on the Nativity itself. The lone echo of this in the preconciliar Roman Missal, as far as I am aware, is that the Last Gospel of the Mass of Christmas Day is the pericope from Matthew for the Epiphany.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s