The Christmas Season takes its direction from the splendor of the light of Christ, which breaks into our Advent darkness with the three liturgical celebrations on Christmas Day. We then proceed into the Octave, which contains numerous feasts. There is an intensity of brightness here; it is like looking into the face of the sun. We can hardly take it in. Jesus, the Sun of Justice, has come! He is the center of the universe, the center of our New Creation. The whole liturgical year moves around him. He holds all things in unity – “in him we live and move and have our being!” (cf. Acts 17:28).
The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on our human nature. He entered into our human family and was born in the likeness of men – born into the holy family of Joseph and Mary. We celebrate this event in the Christmas Octave under the title of the Feast of the Holy Family.
The Holy Family represents the model for all community living. We are all one Body in Christ. We are to preserve our unity with him from the onslaught of the world, as Joseph did when he protected Jesus from Herod, who plotted his death. It is the responsibility of every Christian to preserve and guard the presence of Christ in his heart, never allowing any darkness to overcome him.
The struggle between darkness and light continues on through the Season of Christmas. We should keep in mind Revelation 12, which says: “the dragon was hurled down to earth” making war on “the rest of the woman’s offspring.” Mary is the “Woman” of Revelation 12 and Genesis 3:15. It is her seed who crushes the serpent’s head.
As Advent was shaped by the theme of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas is shaped by the theme of the Solemnity of Mary (January 1). This feast means to tell us that our victory over darkness comes through her maternity in the power of her Son, who is the light of the world. We must remain ever under the mantle of Mary’s maternal protection. It is thus that we shall be secure in the light of our faith. While Jesus is the central Truth of our salvation, Mary, as our mother, holds us secure in his saving grace.
Fr. Francis J. Marino, S.M.
Founder, Anawim Community
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 18, no. 1. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.