THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Celebrate Christmas Day 2018 at The Holy Family & All Saints, Witham
CHRISTMAS EVE 17.30 Mass (Carols will be sung from 17.00)
22.00 Mass (Carols will be sung from 21.30)
CHRISTMAS DAY 09.30 Mass at Silver End
11.00 Mass at Witham
ST STEPHEN 10.00 Mass at Witham
Please check the newsletter page for the rest of the week's Masses.
If you are away on holiday or are unable to join us,
we wish you all the blessings of this holy season
wherever you may be.
CHRISTUS NATUS HODIE
Christ is born today. Let us rejoice and be glad!
For Christians though, Christmas is not just a single day (25 December). It is a liturgical season of joy and celebration, involving many different symbols and traditions, and these vary significantly among different countries and cultures.
Here are a few interesting things about Christmas:
1.Was Jesus born on 25 December? Probably not. We do not know exactly when Jesus was born - just that He was. This shouldn't worry us at all. The birth of Jesus has been celebrated on 25 December since the fourth century when it replaced the Roman festival of the 'birth of the sun' after most of the Roman Empire adopted the Christian faith.
2.The liturgical colours for Christmas are gold or white - not red or green.
3.The first Christmas nativity scene is attributed to St Francis of Assisi who wanted
to show the poor and humble circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ.
4.The word Christmas is derived from old English 'Christes mæsse' - Christ's Mass.
5.Bethlehem in English means 'House of Bread'. "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry". (John 6:35)
6.We speak of Jesus as being born in a stable but it was actually a natural stone cave.
7.Candy canes represent a shepherd's staff and are usually coloured red and white symbolising the blood Christ shed for all and the purity of Jesus, the sacrificial lamb.
8.The Christmas season begins at the First Mass of Christmas and lasts until Candlemas (02 February) when Christ was presented in the temple forty days after His birth.
9.Jesus really is the 'reason for the season'. Without celebrating His coming as the babe of Bethlehem, we would have no Christmas.
10.The song 'The twelve days of Christmas' was written between 1558-1829 when Catholics were forbidden from practicing their faith. The song was written to teach the Catechism.
This is what the symbols mean:
1 Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus Christ, Son of God
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch" - the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese a-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans a-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids a-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords a-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed