Christmas can’t be limited to one day, or even one week
December 20, 2022
Christmas Day is too good, too beautiful, too sublime to last just one day.
So we have an octave, sort of an eight-days-rolled-into-one celebration. The Christmas Octave includes other interrelated holy days – the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John, the Holy Innocents, and the Holy Family – and concludes Jan. 1 with the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.
Centuries ago, the Church began prolonging its highest holy days to eight days, allowing people time to reflect on the mysteries and soak in the graces.
Over the years, though, popes have whittled down the octaves to just two, for the greatest and holiest of occasions, Christmas and Easter.
After the Christmas Octave, the season continues through Jan. 8, the Epiphany of the Lord – and traditionally even longer, through Feb. 2, the feast of The Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas.
So don’t stop the Christmas music yet. Let the decorations stay up a while longer.
Slow down and reflect on the mysteries, graces and joys of the Nativity of the Lord.