The Institute for Christian Formation
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The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
December 25

Click on image above to download our ICF 4-page bulletin on the Christmas Season.
At sundown on December 24, Advent ends and we begin the Christmas Season.  Christmas is an entire season, not just one day!  And contrary to the shopping mall mentality, the Christmas Season is just beginning Christmas Day - not ending.  The word Christmas means the Feast of Christ.  The Christmas Season continues from sundown Christmas Eve  (technically from Evening Prayer I of Christmas) through the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The primary liturgical color for the Christmas Season is white, which expresses joy and glory.  Gold, which expresses honor and praise, is sometimes used in place of white.
The Christmas Season is full of wonderful feasts and rich traditions.  The five major feasts of the Christmas Season include the Nativity of the Lord;
the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; Mary, the Holy Mother of God; the Epiphany of the Lord; and, the Baptism of the Lord

So, as Catholic Christians, we know Christmas is more than a day; it's even more than the Twelve Days; it's an entire season of feasting, song and celebration!  Let's keep the Christmas Season it's fullest!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a lovely on line Christmas interactive video, "The Christmas Story in Art."  Visit their site and choose to hear the story, read the story, and/or send a Christmas E-Card.                                                                      
Make sure you sing Christmas carols and hymns each day of the Christmas Season.  Why not sing a hymn, such as "Angels We Have Heard on High," as part of your Christmas dinner prayer?  Click here to download the score below to use for your prayer.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
What are your traditional recipes for Christmas dinner?  If not for dinner today, at some point this Christmas Season why not try making a traditional French Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake).  Here is a recipe from Saveur that includes a link to “how to roll and decorate your Bûche de Noël."                         
An Online Tutorial on the Infancy Narratives

Only two Gospels – Matthew and Luke – include an “infancy narrative” – an account of the birth of Jesus.  This Christmas Season, make some time to explore the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke and encounter each evangelist's unique insights into the spiritual meaning of Jesus' birth.  “The Birth of Jesus: Two Gospel Narratives” is a free, online, self-paced tutorial written and narrated by Philip A. Cunningham, former Executive Director of Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College.

The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord:
Scripture Readings and a Family Retreat

Did you know that the Church has four different sets of Readings for Masses celebrating the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord and its Vigil?  There are readings for the Vigil Mass, Mass at Midnight, Mass at Dawn, and Mass During the Day!

The Gospel proclaimed each year at Mass at Midnight on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord is Luke 2:1-14 (The Birth of Jesus according to Saint Luke).  As part of their Catechetical Sunday materials for 2013, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offered material, prepared by Thérèse Bermpohl, MA (Director, Office for Family Life, Diocese of Arlington) for an “Advent/Christmas Retreat: Forming Families as the True Domestic Church.”  This resource is based on this Gospel passage (Luke 2:1-12).  You can access this excellent resource here.  This retreat is meant to take place in the context of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.  The time frame is 90 minutes-2 hours, and the retreat is meant to help families encounter Jesus by praying with Scripture using Ignatian-style meditation.
Nativity of the Lord, 7th Century
St. Catherine's Monastery, Mt. Sinai