Merry Christmas! And welcome to Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival. What is Sunday Snippets? Well, imagine a New Year’s party with everyone taking turns swapping reminiscences of the past year, only since we do it every Sunday (and we’re bloggers) we’re sharing our blog posts for the past week. AND, since we’re Catholic bloggers, we’ve got a big Christmas tree with carols playing in the background (because we know that the Christmas Season doesn’t begin until nightfall on December 24th and doesn't end until the third Sunday after the Feast of the Nativity). The main gathering is here, at This That and the Other Thing, home of our hostess RAnn.
Speaking of Christmas, today is the 11th of the 12 Days of Christmas. It is also, in much of the world, the day of the liturgical celebration of the great Feast of Epiphany, the traditional date of which is January 6th. In the Western Church today this feast commemorates the visit of the Magi, whom scripture neither crowns nor numbers, but describes simply as “wise men from the East”. The word Epiphany means “a manifestation” or “a revealing”, in this context the name of the Feast refers to the fact the gifts and adoration of the Magi make manifest that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. This ancient feast (older than Christmas) has at times also been connected to the Nativity, the Baptism of Jesus and other manifestations of his Divinity.
It is interesting how many epiphanies of “God With Us” that we are given : the examples above barely scratch the surface. And still it’s so hard for us to see (a theme of my post for the 10th day as well). Even Mary and Joseph, after visits from Angels and what they knew full well was a Virgin Birth “marveled at what was said about him (Luke 2:33)” when they hear the old man Simeon prophesy over Jesus when he is presented in the Temple. A full dozen years later, they still seem to have a hard time taking it all in:
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. (Luke 2:46-50)
It’s just so hard for us to see beyond our narrow horizons, even for the human parents of The Lord – and who could hope to have faith equal to theirs? But here, as always, the Blessed Mother is the model disciple: “his mother”, the Evangelist tells us, “kept all these things in her heart” (Luke 2:51). She doesn’t let her initial human reactions have the last word, and one might even say that she demonstrates the classic definition of theology: faith seeking understanding.
And now on to the snippets, as we continued our observance of the Twelve Days of Christmas:
Monday – A cheery little Christmas send-off to the work week during the Octave of Christmas: “The 5th Day of Christmas – Angels We Have Heard On High” [here]
Tuesday – There’s a good theological reason for all those Christmas lights, there really is: “The 6th Day of Christmas – God is Light” [here]
Wednesday – The title says it all; added bonus, an awesome picture of the angel on top of my Christmas tree : “ 7th Day of Christmas – What is the Christmas Season, why does it matter?” [here]
Thursday – Another “why does it matter” post, in this case the Motherhood of Mary: “The 8th Day of Christmas – The Solemnity Of Mary, Mother Of God” [here]
Friday – Yes, this is another of those “best of” year-end posts, but I don’t have five favorites from 2014; I don’t have ten; I have links to thirteen, that’s right, THIRTEEN favorite posts. Top that! Oh, also a rousing version of a well-known Christmas song, with music by Felix Mendelssohn: “The 9th day of Christmas – Hark the Herald Angels & Favorites from 2014” [here]
Saturday – Why is it so hard for us to catch on? “The 10th Day of Christmas – A God Of Surprises” [here]