I know you might feel a little wilted, Reader, after all the Christmas presents and family and food (and sugar, etc.) I do too. I kind of like it though. The Octave of Christmas is a peaceful time.
I deeply enjoyed Christmas Eve with my daughters and our boyfriends. It went well, and we were glad to be together. It was a simple evening. We had a family prayer service, a simple home made meal, and then we opened modest gifts.
My daughters have the charming quality of loving everything I ever give them, and appreciating each detail. There was a lot of laughter and relaxed joy, and, at the end, the kids all left together. I could hear them laughing on the stairs as they went down. My boyfriend and I walked over to St. Mary’s for midnight mass.
Christmas Day, family and friends came over at different times throughout the day for tea or coffee, and home made bread and soup. It was nice.
And now my little place is quiet. That is a good metaphor to me for this part of the season: the quiet house.
We scurried to get ready for the big day. Then we had the big day, the beautiful day, of the Nativity. We enjoyed family and friends. We went to mass to celebrate. And now, during the Octave of Christmas, we have a special opportunity to slow down, to be still, and appreciate the gift of the Lord in simplicity of heart.
It is pleasantly quiet, and Jesus is home for the holidays.
At this writing, it is raining out and just a little cold. I have candles and roses around the house in the small sacred spaces I have set up to commemorate the coming of Jesus into the world. There are candles and roses around our Christmas tree, beside the Nativity scene, around the statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (holding baby Jesus,) and beside an open copy of the Gospels.
Rain and candles give a reflective ambiance. I have enjoyed some quiet prayer time today, gazing at my Christmas tree and it’s multi colored lights in my quiet living room with the sound of the rain, coffee cup in hand, Christmas peace in my heart.
St. Teresa of Avila imagined the soul as a beautiful crystalline castle with Jesus in its center, enthroned in the heart.
He is indeed home for the holidays and His home is right here, right now, in us. This is something He accomplished by His birth. He not only came among us and lived among us, but now and for eternity, He lives within us.
The Church season of Christmas is a time to return to the heart, to enjoy His company there, and let Him enjoy ours.
“The Father spoke one Word which was His Son, and this Word He always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul.” ~ St. John of the Cross
*The Octave of Christmas is celebrated from Christmas day to January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.