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For Catholics, the Christmas season begins with Christmas midnight mass and not during Advent. The days from the feast of the Nativity until Epiphany are known as the twelve days of Christmas.
In this post, I’m sharing the Catholic meaning behind the twelve days of Christmas and how we celebrate it in our Catholic home.
12 days of Christmas
The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with Christmas itself being the first day.
“Christmas takes its name from the central and supreme act of Christian worship. Christmas means “Christ’s Mass”, the Mass offered in honor of the birth of Christ. Nearly all European languages, except English, use a word signifying nativity or birthday of Christ to designate the feast of Christmas: in Latin, Dies Natalis; in Italian Il Natale; and in French the Latin form is softened to Noel.
“In all lands and languages the great fact commemorated is the birth of Christ, and the great action by which that fact is commemorated and renewed is the Mass. On Christmas priests may offer three Masses to honor the threefold birth of the Son of God: His birth in time and in our humanity in the stable of Bethlehem; His spiritual birth by faith and charity in the souls of the shepherds, and in our souls, and in the souls of all who earnestly seek Him; and lastly, His eternal generation in the bosom of the Father.” — Lives of the Saints (Imprimatur 1955)
“To run in the path of God’s commandments, we must be thoroughly convinced of God’s infinite love for us, and precisely in order to reach this conviction, we immerse ourselves in contemplation of the mystery of the Nativity.
“In fact, when we see Jesus, the eternal Word, become a child for us, and from the very first moment of His earthly life, gladly taking on all our miseries, even to the point of having nothing but a manger for a cradle, with a little hay for bedding, and poor swaddling clothes for covering…Oh, we can no longer doubt His love.
“God loves us! Jesus loves us! Yes, let us repeat it again and again, ‘We have known and have believed the charity which God hath to us’ (1 John 4:16) Lord, I believe in Your love for me! Lord, increase my faith!” — Divine Intimacy
🎄 A few ideas for celebrating the 12 days of Christmas as a family:
Go to Midnight Mass
Drive around the neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights/decor with hot cocoa & treats in hand
Attend daily mass as often as you’re able to during this season