Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1: Octave of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary

"But Mary Kept All These Things and
Pondered Them in Her Heart" (1888)
By Alice Havers


The Church has always celebrated the eighth day after Christmas, January 1. Originally, it was the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, because in the Jewish tradition, boys were given a special operation on the eighth day after they were born. Then, the name of the feast day was changed to the Holy Name of Jesus, because Jewish children were also named on the eighth day after birth.  Now we call it the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and we take this opportunity to think about Mary's great faith in agreeing to be the mother of Jesus, no matter what that might mean for her. We also thank God that He chose to give us a Savior who was born of a woman, fully human so that He could die for our sin. 


Our cakes, fresh from the oven
After Mass, even though there is a LOT of football on television, you should also take a little time as a family (maybe halftime?) to kneel together and pray the Hail Mary. There are a lot of other traditions surrounding this feast day, many based on the country your ancestors came from. Some people make eggnog to drink; others make a rice and black-eyed pea stew called Hopping John. Another tradition is “God Cakes”, which use purchased puff pastry, and a lemon and current filling (currents are like small, sweet raisins).

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

More reading for parents: