First Week of Christmas: Dec. 27, 2009 - Jan. 2, 2010

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Alexander, Andy, S.J.
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John answered them, "I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie." John 1
First Week of Christmas|The Sunday that follows Christmas is always the celebration of the Holy Family. It is also the third day in the eight days of celebrating Christmas. For the Holy Family feast, there is a wonderful variety of readings to choose from: the Book of Sirach, the First Book of Samuel, Paul's letter to the Colossians or the First Letter of John. Luke's Gospel is the story of the teen aged Jesus teaching in the temple while his parents searched for him. Jesus goes back home with his family. "He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man."|Continuing our special feasts in the days after Christmas, Monday is the moving Feast of the Holy Innocents, remembering the infant martyrs of Herod's jealous rage.|Tuesday is the Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas. We have the story of the Purification in the temple and the powerful words of Simeon about Jesus and about Mary.|Wednesday, the Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas, is the story from Luke's Gospel of Joseph and Mary meeting the prophetess, Anna in the Temple who gives thanks to God for the child, Jesus "to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem."|Thursday is the Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas. The Gospel is the beginning of John's Gospel.|Friday, New Year's Day is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. In addition, it is a celebration of World Day of Prayer for Peace.|Saturday is the Memorial of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors of the Church.|On Sunday, January 3, the US will celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, although most of the world will celebrate it on Wednesday, January 6. The Epiphany celebrates the light that has come into the darkness of the world and that our salvation was made known to the Gentiles. Outside of the US, the Second Sunday of Christmas is celebrated, with the beginning of John's Gospel and its poetic images of light and the Word.
Daily Prayer This Week|There is a very quick transition after Christmas. We move into Jesus' public life, almost completely passing over the hidden life years. Before we know it, Jesus is down at the Jordan, waiting to be Baptized.|It helps to recognize this and let ourselves enter this part of the mystery of the Incarnation. We are living in the flesh each day of our lives. He came to enter this life and be with us in it. After Christmas, we have a few days to let the blessing of Christmas settle in. Now we are moving toward Ordinary Time again.|Each one of us can begin our post-Christmas and the beginning of our New Year's time by staying in touch with ourselves in the flesh - as people touched by Jesus' coming. We can turn to our Lord throughout each day and have real conversations with our Savior. Over the kitchen sink, by the dishwasher, in front of the washing machine. While going to work, walking, going to a meeting, returning from one.|During our preparation for Christmas we were asking the Lord to open our hearts, to let us wait with patient trust, and to come to us. Last week we experienced joy and the mixed challenges of Christmas. This week we have the opportunity to have ordinary conversations with our God who came to be with us.|Thank you so much, Lord, for becoming flesh for me. And, thank you for being with me now, in the midst of each day's joys and sorrows. I ask you to increase my trust in you, my desire for closeness with you and my commitment to turn to you all day long. Continue to be with me when I have to made difficult decisions, when I need extra patience and care when in challenging situations. Continue to let my heart experience the joy of Christmas this week as I see signs of your presence with me.|When these words take on our own voice and our details, it will feel very personal. And, when we speak about our fears, our needs, when we express our gratitude and our deep desires, we are living and intimate relationship with the one who became flesh that we might never need feel alone again.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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