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Celebrating Christmas and Christmas Eve is the most popular throughout the year, both among children and among adults.

In all Christian countries, there are more traditions and customs associated with Christmas than any other event. It is true, of course, that the logical culmination of Advent is the Epiphany. However, preparations for actually ends on the day of the Nativity. Celebrate these two events can be explained only on the basis of history. Christmas is a celebration of the Birth of the western way of the Lord, and Christmas, Epiphany is the East. Keep in mind a very serious difference between the two great feasts paschalnymi and two great Christmas festivities.

During Easter, the day of Pentecost with the mission of the Paraclete, representing organic growth in the work of our salvation. During Christmas, Christmas and Epiphany revolve around the same theme - the Incarnation of the second person of the Trinity as Savior and King of kings. East took over Christmas from the West. West took the feast of the Epiphany in the East. These two celebrations of Christmas are aged monument spiritual unity of the Church of the Eastern and Western. The Roman Ritual Third Mass (the Mass of the day) is actually Christmas Mass of Revelation, which is Epiphany. Station, as well as the epiphany, takes place in St.. Peter, a Mass is a true revelation of the newborn Savior city and the world.

For Christians, Christmas Western world will always seem more important than Epiphany, although the latter has a higher rank of the ceremony, although it is true that the Advent, the period of waiting and preparation, the ceremony ends with Christmas. The text indicates that the liturgy, saying: "Tomorrow is the original sin-offs" and "Open the gates eternal, to be able to enter the King of Glory." Accomplishment of the glorious visitation of the great King, dominant throughout the Advent does not occur, however, before the feast of Epiphany. East broadened our perspective of the spiritual significance of the Incarnation. We rise above historical fact, narrated by the Gospels, the prospect of Christ's kingdom, the dominant over time and space. You could say that during the Christmas reborn in Christ, when the Christmas sun rises over the town of Bethlehem. The celebrated Epifani mystical marriage of the King with his bride the Church. The glory of the Lord like the sun shines brightly over the south of Jerusalem. At Christmas, Christ is born in the privacy of the family, represented by Mary and the shepherds. The epiphany is revealed to the world in full glory and royal power, which represents the Adoration of the Magi, the Baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana.

Moreover, before we get to the proposals for the handling of Christmas in our cities and homes, it should be noted a few observations about the historical evolution of a truly Christian concept of the holiday season. Readily available source of information for families on Christmas and its traditions, is The Christmas Book ( "Book of Christmas"), whose author is Fr. Francis X. Weiser SI. There is a lack of historical records, and even well-established tradition, giving the date of the birth of Christ. Date December 25 has been established around the year 320, and the popes, it seems, chose this day, mainly because that discourage people from circumventing the pagan festival of Persian god of the sun - Mithras, cult called the "birthday invincible sun" (natalis solis invicti). In any case, this does not mean that Christmas is merely "schrystianizowanym" pagan feast, because the Christians of that time realized with St.. John Chrysostom, that "the pagans call 25 December birthday invincible. Who is really so invincible as Our Lord? ... Or if you say that this birthday of the sun, he is the sun of justice "(St. John Chrysostom, The solstice and equinox).

In the Middle Ages, Christmas was celebrated more uproariously and uproariously. Particularly from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, all art and craft of Christian celebration of the birth of the Savior to serve. Performances and songs, carols and dances, spices and flowers, portraits and sculptures - works to serve the entire Christmas celebrations. The basis of all the customs and traditions has always been the Mass, Christmas Mass, the breviary and sacramentals. In many European countries, drastic changes in the handling Christmas celebrations came with the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Spiritual and biblical basis for the liturgy, including the Mass itself, were ridiculed and banned. Especially Calvinists and Puritans condemned all religious ways of celebrating these festivals, and their "new" way of handling the Christmas inclined towards making the Nativity of the Lord, only more or less a pagan holiday feasts nice and humanitarian. Especially went to trial in England, and Englishmen poreformacyjne attitudes concerning Christmas have an impact on most of our own, regarding the handling of these holidays.

When the Puritans took over England, I immediately took action to prohibit the celebration of Christmas. In this way they fought, that no feast laid down by the man's rank was higher than the Sabbath (Sunday). Since Christmas was the most important holidays celebrated outside of Sunday, has been completely banned. The first ordinance prohibiting the exercise of a public celebration of Mass and at Christmas was issued in 1642, and finally June 3, 1647, parliament passed a decision saying that the holidays will never be celebrated under the threat of punishment. In a society were riots, but the government remained unmoved, and even interrupted the Christmas celebrations with the help of the army, although no penalties were imposed too severely. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 celebration of "old" Christmas has returned to the "new" attitude. Handling religious Christmas was almost completely replaced by fun and sitting on a plum pudding, goose, capon, stuffed dumplings, and roast beef, adoptive mistletoe, holly and ivy, and logs in the fireplace. Two of the best illustrations of the "new birth of Christ without Christ" can be found in Charles Dickens' Christmas Eve Tales and Sketch Book (sketchbook) Washington Mighty Wind. We have to admit that our current celebration of Christmas has been largely shaped by these works. The only thing I can say in favor of well-written book is that they contain interesting stories to promote a spirit of goodwill and generosity in humans for the poor. Christ the Savior and King of kings, it really is very far in the background.

Unfortunate zeal of the Puritans undoubtedly influenced the American way to celebrate Christmas. In our time it is very difficult to understand that Christmas was banned in New England until the second half of the nineteenth century. Until 1870 children went to school in the Boston public schools on Christmas Day, and every absent student was severely punished or even publicly released from school. The influx of German, Irish and French immigrants, and many other representatives of European nations, Christmas more fully reconstructed in the country in recent years. Uzewnętrzniają out two trends: pagan-style celebration of the humanitarian welfare of suffocating, which represent the Christmas cards from the sleigh, Nikolai, mint candy in the shape of sticks, etc., and Christian, spiritual and traditional customs, derived from medieval Christian Europe. With pespektywy objective principles contained in the liturgy of the Mass, and the breviary sakramentaliach, try to identify some ancient and modern customs, which are really a Christian basis and is based on Christian doctrine and practice.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Christmas Eve is exceptional. Joyful anticipation fills hearts of both children and adults, and the whole Christian world is trying to express that feeling of abundance images, customs and traditions. Discussion of all is impossible. Not only nations, but even a single family, invented their own little habits of handling a great Christmas. First of all, briefly outline the spiritual foundations of these traditions to be found in the Mass, the Roman breviary and Martyrology on Christmas Eve.

The entire liturgy of Christmas Eve is devoted to the anticipation of some coming of the Savior: "Today you will learn that the Lord will come, and tomorrow you will see His glory" (matutinum call on Christmas Eve). Throughout Advent we have seen how to prepare for the coming of Jesus became more careful. Isaiah, John the Baptist and the Virgin Mother appeared throughout the period of preaching and prophesying the coming of the King. Today we learn that Christ is born as a man of the house of David, the Virgin Mary, according to his divine nature began in the Spirit of holiness as the Son of God and the Second Person of the Trinity.

Certainty of His coming clarify two images. The first is the closed gate of Paradise. Since our first parents were expelled from the earthly paradise, the gate was closed, and the cherub guarding her from a burning sword. Only Redeemer is able to open it and enter it. On Christmas Eve we are at the gates of paradise, and so Psalm 23 is its subject:

"Gates, lift up their tops and Uniescie to ancient doors, that he might enter the King of glory" (Psalm 24 [23], 7).

Introit, offertory and Communion are entirely devoted to this image. The second picture shows the Blessed Mother. Recent historical events of Advent Is today's Gospel. Great anguish and doubt St. Joseph, the angel of his wife scatters its provision. The one who has to be born not from Joseph, but really from the Holy Spirit: "She will conceive a child, and you shall call him the name Jesus (Savior), because they redeem his people from their sins."

Since Christmas is a day of fasting, it's normal that the smell accompanying całodziennemu cooking should emphasize our expectation for the ceremony. Where is the victory, there was no fighting? Even children should be at all refrain from tasting the delicacies which have hit on the Christmas table. In our country this day of fasting and abstinence is quite difficult to maintain. Actually passed in the spirit of Advent and requires the patience of Job, not to celebrate in advance. According to the universal custom of Christmas Eve has become a holy day, because most people organize parties, exchange gifts and widespread practice throughout the Christmas revelry. Is it too much to ask for penance, to refrain from the excessive zeal? Desire to be present, as well as the spirit of joyful expectation, but the church still needs final mortification before the heavenly taste of the joy of Christmas. Perhaps Christmas night did not minęłaby in many families as dull, if Christmas was celebrated as a true vigil (1). This is our last victim of preparation for the Infant Jesus, which has adopted the humiliation stajenki Bethlehem.

Cookery surpasses herself in this period. Since we are celebrating tomorrow, most of the cooking should be done earlier. Detail should consult with cooking for Christ and Christmas cookery book. Swiss cookies crab cake spicy malachrino Greek and German stollen cake lebkuchen and make all rejoice. The shape of stollen, as it believes, is to remind the child Jesus, and the folds at the top of the loaf - diapers. Lebkuchen cake (cake of life "), is an excellent reminder of the Bread of Life. Among the rules of English can be found on everything from head to wild plum pudding, with particular emphasis on hot buttered rum and ajerkoniaku.

Since Christmas is a day of fasting, the fish is the right choice. While in Brittany, the triumphs of the saints cod, American Christmas is associated with hot stewed oysters. Biscuit crumbs or Italian cream, quickly prepared by the older girls would be a perfect dessert. Polish Christmas Eve dinner is probably the most complicated culinary terms. "The homes in this country - says Festive cookbook - bundles of straw placed in the four corners of the dining room praying for good harvest in the coming years. Then under the tablecloth, necessarily woven by hand, placed a little hay, symbolizing the Bethlehem manger. Lookout for the youngest child of the first stars, and when it appears, runs notify the rest of the family. Dinner begins, according to tradition, from breaking wafer, made from dough niekwaszonego with minted depicting Christmas scenes. Everyone at the table ułamuje a piece and eaten as a symbol of union with Christ ... "gives three soup, followed by three fish dishes and pasta, cabbage and dumplings. There are also three desserts, one of which is always a fruit compote made with dried fruit twelve, symbolizing the twelve apostles. At the end of dinner, sing carols and exchange gifts. Remnants of food often results in the animals in the hope that all living beings will prosper through diet podawanemu after the first night of Our Lord on this earth.

"In Austria, on Christmas Eve every house smell fills fruchtbrot, greeting anglocker, or carol singers who go from place to place, singing carols, sometimes two of them is dressed as Mary and Joseph seeking refuge at the inn. In Germany, the handling of Christmas begins with the beginning of Advent, when the Advent wreath hangs, usually on the ceiling dining room. Attaches to the crown every day to the silver star and each week following a red candle. Previously also prepares Christstollen (a long loaf of bread baked with dried fruits and lemon) as well as lebkuchen and marzipan, recognized as an important food holiday. On Christmas Eve the family gathers at the Advent wreath and singing Christmas carols. Then he lit the Christmas tree lights and distributes the gifts "(Festive cookbook).

Przedwiecznych opening the gates through which may enter the King of Glory, is a wreath on the door of our homes, suspended for a period of Christmas. Advent wreath, which accompanied the family throughout the period of preparation may be removed. Deletes a purple ribbon and beautifully decorated with white and gold. Then he placed it on the door as a symbol of welcome Christ in our city, home and hearts. On Christmas Eve the whole house should be littered with garlands and ready for the Light of the World. Crib sets are a place of honor, because today is the most important figure of the scene come Christmas.

Jews celebrate their festival of lights (Hannuka) in December to celebrate the re-dedication of the Temple. Tonight we celebrate the coming of the Messiah, who is the Light and Life of the world. The liturgy itself retains the symbolism of light, which represents the Redeemer, which is most dramatically evident in błogosławieniu paschału at Easter. On Christmas Eve an enormous candle set in the house. A common practice was to surround her laurel wreath, symbolizing victory over Satan, and then maintaining a light burning throughout the night and holy Christmas night of each. Almost every nation has adopted the custom associated with Christmas lights. In Ireland, the family lights a candle and holly adorned prays for the living and the dead. Ukrainians, place a candle in a loaf of bread, which reminds the Bread of Life and Light of nations. In South America, a candle is placed in the paper lampionie sometimes decorated with scenes from the Nativity. In France, Christmas lights are often comprised of three separate candles fused into one at the base in honor of the Blessed Trinity. In Germany the Christmas candle lichtstock sometimes erected on wooden pole decorated with evergreens plants. Then the usual pyramid candles have replaced the Christmas tree in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The Irish like to especially put candles in the window. During the English persecution of priests were forced into hiding. Every Irish family had hoped to host a refugee in the house for the celebration of Mass on Christmas Eve. A candle in the window indicates the priests that they are welcome in this house. When I asked British authorities to explain the custom, the Irish simply explained that lit candles and open the door, just in case Mary and Joseph seeking shelter to be aware that they will be in their warm welcome. English considered the "superstition" as harmless, and the Irish were often rewarded with a real presence of Christ in the Mass.

Christmas bonfires burning on the Alpine summits in Central Europe are a colorful sight. Fr. Weiser writes: "As the blazing stars hang in the dark sky in the Holy Night, shining in the silence, the farmers of the surrounding mountains descend to the valley to the Shepherdess. Any person who carries a lantern, rocking back and forth. It seems as if the night alive hundreds of shiny, sparkling skylights, approaching the big light at the foot of the mountains - to the parish church. Surely this is a festival of lights. Nobody who witnessed the scene on Christmas Eve in Austria, Bavaria and Switzerland, she never forgets "(Book of Christmas).

This is an evening of storytelling for children Christmas stories. Their collection called Christmastide ( "Christmas"), William J. Rohrenbecka useful to both the night and throughout the holiday period. Story can be read throughout the long evening before Midnight. Finishes tuning the Christmas tree and crib. Remember to always close links to the green symbol of life with Christmas lights - the symbol of light. When the great Oscar (Ansgar) preached Christ Viking named a fir tree as a symbol of faith, because "there was a great hope as wide as love and wore a sign of the cross on each konarze. Instead of exchanging gifts and participate in a small banquet in the evening, we should arrange a hearty "breakfast" at Midnight. Post had ended, and the joy of Christmas is at hand. The giver of all gifts, we share our gifts and love from family and friends.

Singing Christmas carols is a natural adornment of Christmas customs and stories at home. All families should discover a wealth of carols from different periods and parts of the world. Most of them are universally accepted, and nearly all the major have been translated into English. Lots of it is actually achievable in the form of recordings, both in the language in which they were created, as well as English. For this reason we replaced the well-known American and English carols like Silent Night and Adeste fideles. They are well known in American homes and actually behave in our nation. Ancient Latin and international carols deepen our understanding of Christmas. Children easily understand them, because they belong to an international folk music treasure. Children can realize how common is the love that all the nations surrounding the child-Savior.

National anthems of the next heart of the Church as the Bride of the Divine Bridegroom can be found in the liturgical books. Very appropriate, for example, would be singing in this holy night nieszpornej Ierusalem antiphon Gaude, and then, in a solemn tone, the Magnificat of the Blessed Virgin. Nieszporny hymn Jesu Redemptor omnium reflects the joyful peace movement, which is the heart of Christmas. Children can easily sing some of the simpler elements of the Mass of Christmas. This is clearly heard during playback children's choir, Fr. Hellriegel. For example, the English version of the fourteenth-century Latin carol rhythmic Quem pastores laudavere falls to taste pure minds of children.

Enumerate all from different countries, Christmas carols, sung on Christmas Eve, is impossible. On this particular evening, we recommend the following: Come, all shepherds (Czech), Behold, the branch grows, Sing, sing a (German), Carol Child of Bethlehem (Austrian) and the French carol "Bring your torches, Jeanette, Isabelle, and How pastereczko (inspired responsorium nocturne second Sunday in the octave of Christmas) and proclaim the good news.

This last song is often performed in Austria, France and the Spanish-speaking countries. Fr. Weiser describes it saying: "This is a dramatic expression of the Holy Family of fruitless efforts to find shelter in Bethlehem. Knowing that they are poor, the owners refuse to them in the strongest terms, to the Holy Family finally decides to seek refuge in the stable. Typically, the entire presentation is odśpiewywane and often ends with a happy picture of a manifestation of the grotto of the Nativity scene ... A similar practice is Spanish posada (inn), traditional South American countries, especially in Mexico. In the evening, between 16 and December 24, families from the neighborhood gather in one house, where he prepared the altar and beautifully decorated with all the traditional manger figurines, but the empty manger. At night, the priest comes to the house, read prayers and lit incense before images of Mary and Joseph. Then set the procession, carrying up over the heads of these two images, celebrating the whole house and reciting the litany, and singing songs until it comes to the upper-most room, where he sings Christmas carol expressing supplication St. Joseph, a shelter for families. Then the procession headed back to the altar, where he set up images of Joseph and Mary, to celebrate them with prayer and incense, and the priest blesses all present.

Thus ends the religious part of the job and begin adult gay adoption, which consist of games and snacks, while children play with Pinata. Piñata is a fragile, earthen jar suspended from the ceiling and filled with candy and other goodies. The purpose of fun is capturing the jar with a stick so that its contents are scattered. Then they all move spontaneously to collect these treasures "(Book of Christmas).

Children love to sing and light candles and ring bells. You should give them every opportunity to do this during the holy night on arrival at the Savior, at midnight. In many churches, beating up the bells during the solemn stand before Midnight Mass. In other concert kurantów and resounds with all the bells and bell towers.

There is special here and there preserved the medieval custom of the British Isles. It is a symbol of renewal of life in grace, which contributed to the New Adam. An hour before midnight, the big church bell starts to beat as before the funeral. It takes an entire hour, but the stroke of midnight toll begins beautifully expresses the joy of the world of Christmas and redemption.

The temptation to talk about the countless other interesting customs that make Christmas a more solemn, is enormous. Although the enumeration of all of them here is impossible, we hope that these few suggestions may ignite our imagination and inspire American families to explore the spiritual significance and richness of this holy night. For example, in the Slavic peoples parents allow young children to bed before Midnight on the floor on a bed of hay and straw. While difficult to recommend such a practice in our country, and where so few have access to the agricultural environment, the parents during the night of nights, you can let the children into small mortification connected with the convenience so that they can divide the modest conditions in which the Savior is born . When the shepherdess come home to "breakfast" at the manger and the Christmas tree to receive gifts, their joy will be even greater, because in a way they could participate in the suffering of the Infant Jesus.

St. Gregory Nazianzen vividly summed up the spirit of the Gospel and St.. Paul: "Let us be like Christ, because Christ is also like us. Let us be gods because of him, for he has for us became man. He took upon himself what was nędzniejsze to be able to provide what chwalebniejsze. Became poor to make us his poverty might become rich. Took the form of a servant, to deliver us. Humbled himself to exalt us ... Let everyone give everything. Let offers all things to him who gave himself to redeem us and reward for our sins. But no one can give something so great, as when properly understand this mystery, gives himself and is due to Him, that all what he has become because of us "(liturgical readings, the second nocturne Sunday Easter).

Solemnity of Christmas

In the past few centuries, the only circumvented by Christmas Eve night Office and the Mass was the eve of Christmas. Fortunately, our current Holy Father has ordered that the Easter Vigil should be restored appropriate first-place. These are the only two occasions in the Roman Ritual, fully celebrowanymi by all the people and therefore must be strongly emphasized their importance.

The Church has established Night Office in antiquity. Since Our Lord often fell at night on the mountain to pray, she offered her night vigil, to precede the second coming of the Savior. Night was created for the love of prayer or meditation, and not just for sleeping. In the spirit of the liturgy nocturnes matutinum still celebrated in the monasteries at night. Many monks are still wakes up to pray and watch with the Church. About thirty or twenty-second twenty-third in the Christmas Eve beating the bells calling the monks to matutinum Christmas. The chance to join them in a monastery during the celebration of their rich Nativity of the Lord is a huge privilege. Of course, a detailed explanation of the ceremony here matutinum exceeds our capacity.

In Germany, a beautifully prepared Gospel Christmas matutinum tone of the day (Die Frohbotschaft des Herrn der Gebert). It would be great if it has been translated and made available to American parents to sing at home a manger, his family chooses the Shepherdess. Children in this country could at least enjoy the echo of a fuller spiritual celebration, in which the Church receives her Bridegroom. The only substitute for what we now recommend a shared reading or meditating on the birth of Christ, based on the readings and psalms of the Divine Office. However, reading is for children, like adults, rather poor substitute. We prefer to own something to do, see, hear or sing.

Explanation of the reasons to celebrate three Masses on Christmas Day so simply and clearly explained in the book, Pius Parsch Das Jahr des Heiles that we have to translate it. When this great work will see its translation into English, every family should read them as often around Christmas. Fully expresses the spirit.

"Characteristic on Christmas Day is to exercise three times the Eucharistic sacrifice. Church of Rome in antiquity imitated in this respect the venerable Church of Jerusalem. The faithful gathered there at night at the Grotto of Nativity, the holy day celebration of the Nativity of the Lord Mass. Afterwards they returned to Jerusalem. In the Church of the Resurrection in this city, how better could celebrate Christmas than with the pastors? It was the second Mass. During the day, once again gathered at the Church Office on the festive holidays. In this way, adopted the habit of exercising three Masses on Christmas Day. It was launched in Rome. The first Mass celebrated on the night in the church of the manger, or in Santa Maria Maggiore (church, known as the station prevailed Mary Major was seen as the "Bethlehem," the Romans). The second Mass celebrated in the Roman Church of the Resurrection. Third and celebrated in the basilica of St. Peter. The custom also spread from Rome throughout the Western Church. Since the Roman Catholic priests were allowed in the daily celebration of Holy Mass, established that any priest may celebrate three Masses on Christmas Day.

Three elements combine in every Eucharist: God's light, an appropriate time of day or night, and a historical event recounted in the Gospel, to this hour. In the three Masses the next steps will see the ceremony. Can be the first to feel the spirit of Advent yet. God reveals himself surrounded by the majesty light. Shining angels hover above the ground, and the mother, the purest Virgin, is the only earthly creature that approaches the divine Child. Humanity is still pending in the darkness of night
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