Our word “Christmas” comes from the old English “Christmasse” (Christ’s Mass). In ancient calendars the feast was set close to the winter solstice, when the sun return light to the world. In the birth of Jesus, God gave us the greatest gift by becoming a human being and dwelling among us. Jesus is truly God and truly human – the Incarnation is God’s plan for reconciling and redeeming his people.
The Song of Mary (Magnificat, BCP p. 91) offers Mary’s joy. The Service for A Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child (BCP p.439) also expresses the wonder of birth and new life.
- How do I give thanks for my life?
- How do I follow the example of Jesus?
- What hopes do I have for new life and new light in the world?
An Outline of the Faith
Commonly called the Catechism, this is an outline of instruction cast in the tradition question and answer form. It is a point of departure for exploring the beliefs and practices of The Episcopal Church. The following areas are especially appropriate to study during this season. It begins on page 845 of the BCP.
- God the Son
- The New Covenant
Christ promised to bring us into the Kingdom of God and give us life in all its fullness. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind. And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. How are we Christ’s light in the world?
Reflection on God’s action in daily life
Christmas is to be celebrated for twelve days. Reflect on how you can live the joy of Jesus’ birth this and every day, knowing that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you.
- Celebrate Christmas beyond December 25th, remember the Feast of the Holy Innocents, as well as St. Stephen and St. John.
- How do I live my life, knowing that God’s Word lives among us?
- How am I a witness in all that I say and do?
Things to Do
- Respond to the Light that has come into the world never ever to leave again. Light a candle at dinner to be reminded of Christ’s presence within your household.
- Design Chrismons – symbols about Jesus that are used as tree ornaments
- Line your walkways with luminaria
- Make a Christingle – an orange decorated with a lighted candle, raisins and nuts
Luke’s account of Jesus being placed in a manger at his birth because there was no room in the inn serves as a constant reminder to the Christian that God identifies with the weak, the poor, the outcast.
- Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation
- The Episcopal Church: Justice & Advocacy
- Episcopal Peace Fellowship
- Episcopal Public Policy Network