My family goes to my wife’s parents house for Christmas.  It is a joy to celebrate with family!  We then come home a few days later and continue to celebrate Christmas by having our kids open one gift each day until they have opened their gifts.  We also try to do something at meals and/or during the day that helps our family focus on Jesus’ Birthday and God’s blessings in our lives.  These are two ways we try to continue the Solemnity of Christmas beyond the 25th.  For most people in our culture Christmas was over on the 26th of December, but for Catholics we enter into a new liturgical season where the Church celebrates the wonders of the mystery of the Incarnation for 8 days like it is one (called the Octave of Christmas).  In addition the Christmas Season continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (always the second Sunday after Christmas).  The splendor of Christmas and God becoming man cannot be contained in just one day (or a few).  We are a liturgical people and need to seek to enter into each season as the Church calls us to do and draws us into.

Here are 2 thoughts I had about how to foster Christmas beyond one day:

1. Find ways in your religious education programs to encourage the celebration of Christmas beyond one day.  Most religious education programs are on break during the two weeks after Christmas.  However, finding ways to promote it to families before they go on break would be a good beginning.  In addition possible send an email or two during the Christmas Season promoting ways to celebrate it.

2. Foster the Christmas Season in the home.  The Word, Jesus, began His humble earthly life within a family and so it is with us, we must begin and continue our journey of holiness in our families.  Nothing is more important for a family than to foster a faith-filled home that learns to love Jesus and love one another as He loves.  Fr. Fernandez said “The Messiah wanted to start his redemptive task in the bosom of a simple, ordinary family.  The first thing that Jesus sanctified with his presence was a home” (pg. 230 of In Conversation with God).

Here is the closing prayer for both morning and evening prayer yesterday:

Father, all-powerful and unseen God,
you dispelled the shadows of this world
when Christ, the true Light, dawned upon us.
Look favorably upon us, Lord,
and we will praise and glorify his birth as man.
He lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.