Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Christmas is the season to celebrate the Lord's birth, his manifestation to the world, and His baptism. This season begins Christmas Eve and ends on the Baptism of the Lord. The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as "The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Christmas season starts on December 25th with the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The season includes:
Since the sixth century, on December 28, the Church has celebrated the memory of those children killed because of Herod's rage against Christ (cf. Mt 2:16-17). Liturgical tradition refers to them as the "Holy Innocents" and regards them as martyrs.
This feast is the octave of Christmas. It is fitting to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, following the birth of Christ. When Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human.
This feast celebrates the epiphany (manifestation) of Christ to the Gentiles, symbolized by Christ's manifestation to the Magi (Wise Men). The wise men followed the star to Bethlehem of Judea, and to Jesus' dwelling there. Having arrived, they worshipped the infant Jesus, and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In addition, other manifestations of Christ were often commemorated during Epiphany, including the miracle at Cana.
After He is circumcised, Jesus is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family. This feast is celebrated on the second Sunday after Epiphany.
The Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord brings to an end the season of Christmas. The Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan.