In Thanksgiving for Christmas …

 

Thanksgiving-for-Christmas

 

I love the month of December. And I give great thanks for all I have received throughout.

Just before Advent, I gathered evergreen foliage, cones and berries, to make an Advent wreath.

And as the first candle was lit, I played that beautiful carol, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

I am sad to see how so many people rush into Christmas festivities, rather than experiencing the magic and beauty of Advent – praying and awaiting in anticipation the coming of our Tiny Saviour on Christmas Eve.

For advent is a time of preparation. Through prayers, confession and fasting, we purify ourselves, so that when our Lord comes, we can fully appreciate His most wonderful gifts … His birth, His Incarnation into our poor human existence, His taking on human flesh and sharing with us His Divinity through this most humble act of love.

My heart brims with gratitude to Thee, my sweet Lord, but never enough. How can I ever be grateful enough?

As we moved into December, I also created a beautiful little altar to the Immaculate Conception, shining with Her stunning blue.

For, along with many faithful, Roger and I prayed a Novena, petitioning the Great Mother of God for her unceasing Intercession. She, Who graced us with Her heavenly unblemished beauty on the Eighth of the month.

Her great Feast is privileged with an Octave, which focusses the first half of December upon her.

This is incredibly fitting. For as we direct our attention to Her, we deeply familiarise ourselves with Her Immaculate Nature, from which our God is soon to be born.

Intensifying our anticipation of this miracle, exactly one week before the Christ Mass (the Eighteenth) we arrived at the ancient Spanish Feast, the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Holy Child was now truly Expected.

Yet, still we waited through the final week of Advent, four candles lit, becoming more excited, as we approached the Holy Birth.

And before we knew it, we were preparing the tree, arranging the crib and lo and behold…

Silent Night, Holy Night was sung out in our darkened chapels, as we celebrated the magical liturgy of Midnight Mass.

On that silent, holy night, the Word became flesh and the whole world changed. Our Lord was born unto us, come to save us from our poverty, our misery, our sin – come to give us life, life most abundant.

And He came, surrounded by Hosts of Angels, singing Alleluia.

And we adored Him, Our God born in Bethlehem.

He, a Tiny Infant, placed in a manger for His bed.

With bended knee, we prayed before this miracle.

This wondrous mystery filled us throughout Christmastide (from Christmas Eve, until the Octave day of the Epiphany, according to the Traditional Liturgy). It is so magical, rich and nourishing.

For the twelve days of the Christ Mass (24th – 5th January) I experienced a quality, deep, silent and still, incredible for prayer. Then, when we arrived at Epiphany, splendour and magnificence erupted in the air.

The three Kings arrived at the crib, bearing their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, marking the “manifestation” of the Christ Child to all peoples – His presence revealed to all the world.

Our Saviour is born that we all may be saved.

Our Lord has given us Himself. Let us come to Him.

So this little piece is a thanksgiving for the birth of our Lord into our poor hearts. It is a thanksgiving for all the graces and gifts I have received through December and Christmastide.

I give thanks to Thee, from the depths of my heart, Sweet Baby Jesus.

Thou art everything.

Thou art my God. All I am, all I have, all I receive, comes from Thee, as Thou dost shine Thine Holy Light upon us.

As we move into time after Epiphany, may we look to the fruits of His Incarnation and Manifestation to all peoples.

And through these weeks of January, offer particular devotion to His sweet and Holy Name, Jesus.

And I will leave you here, with these profound lines from the St. Andrew’s Missal:

The Word, begotten from all eternity by the Father, has raised into personal union with Himself the blessed Fruit of the virginal womb of Mary; in other words the human and divine natures are joined in our Lord in the unity of a single Person – the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Further, since when we speak of a con we mean a person, Jesus must be called the Son of God, because as the Son of God, He is a Divine Person. From this it follows, that our Lady is called the Mother of God; not that she has begotten the Word but because from her is derived the humanity that the Word has united to Himself in the mystery of the Incarnation.

Happy New Year!

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