Since the Register skips the last Sunday in December, there is much to cover. Thursday, Dec. 25, is Christmas. Sunday, Dec. 28, is the feast of the Holy Family. Thursday, Jan. 1, is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a holy day of obligation. Sunday, Jan. 4, is the second Sunday of Christmas, but in the United States, we celebrate the Epiphany that day.


Feasts

FaithandFamilyLive.com is the website of our sister publication, Faith & Family.

Don’t miss all the great saints’ days that come in Christmas’ wake.

Dec. 25: Christmas. If no one feels confident on the piano, go to NCRegister.com to find accompaniment for your caroling today. Click on “Christmas Music” in the upper right-hand corner.

Dec. 26: St. Stephen, the first martyr. The day after Christmas, we already begin remembering that Christianity isn’t all tinsel and pie, but a willingness to die for the faith. Sing “Good King Wenceslas.” Find music and lyrics at CyberHymnal.org.

Dec. 27: St. John the Apostle. Today is a day that children traditionally get to drink a little wine because of an old legend that John blessed a cup of poisoned wine — and the poison left it. On this day we have often made the “St. John’s Wine” from Evelyn Birge Vitz’s A Continual Feast (Ignatius).

Dec. 28: The Holy Family. If anyone feels uncomfortable about that “wives be subordinate to your husbands” reading, tell them to pay attention to the day’s Gospel. Was Mary “subordinate” to Joseph? Yes. She went to the census with him and gave him a leadership role in the Temple. Was she his inferior? Certainly not; the Church gives her a special kind of honor called hyperdulia, which no one else receives. Was the Child Jesus “subordinate” to his parents? Yes, and he was obedient also (only children are told to be obedient, not wives). Was he therefore inferior? Certainly not. He’s God.

Jan. 1: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. A great way to start the New Year: placing it in the hands of the Blessed Mother. Pope Benedict XVI will do so at his 10 a.m. (Rome time) Mass.


Readings

Epiphany: Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

EPriest.com offers free homily packs for priests.


Our Take

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI was elected, he led World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, whose cathedral holds the relics of the Magi. Reflections on the “three kings” therefore figured into many of his talks. Here are only two of his remarks about the Magi.

“Like the Magi, all believers — and young people in particular — have been called to set out on the journey of life in search of truth, justice and love. The ultimate goal of the journey can only be found through an encounter with Christ, an encounter which cannot take place without faith.”

Later, he said: “We, too, have come to Cologne because in our hearts we have the same urgent question that prompted the Magi from the East to set out on their journey, even if it is differently expressed.”

Today’s question isn’t “Where is the newborn King,” he said, but:

“Where do I find standards to live by, where are the criteria that govern responsible cooperation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my heart’s deepest desires?

“Dear friends, when questions like these appear on the horizon of life, we must be able to make the necessary choices. It is like finding ourselves at the crossroads: Which direction do we take? The one prompted by the passions or the one indicated by the star that shines in our conscience?”

He concludes:

“Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy, has a name and a face: It is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own Yes to God, for he wishes to give himself to you.”