Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

On Christmas Eve, we will place ourselves once again before the Crib to contemplate, astonished, the "Word made flesh." Sentiments of joy and gratitude, like in every year, are renewed in our hearts as we hear the melodies of Christmas carols, which sing of, in so many languages, the same, extraordinary miracle. The Creator of the universe, out of love, came to make his dwelling among men. In the Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul affirms that Christ, "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (2:6). He appeared in human form, adds the Apostle, humbling himself. At holy Christmas we will relive the realization of this sublime mystery of grace and mercy.

Pope Benedict XVI 21.12.06


Anonymous said...

Why is Twelfth Night on the 6th January and not the fifth? If Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas, then Epiphanyshould be on the 5th January. Or is Christmas Day not the first day? Should we re-name the 6th January "Thirteenth Night", please?

Fr Michael Brown said...

Sweep, you are right that 6th January is the 13th night.This is from Wikipedia:

Twelfth Night is a holiday in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany, concluding the Twelve Days of Christmas, and is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking".[1]

In some traditions it is taken to mean the evening of the Twelfth Day itself, the sixth of January. This apparent difference has arisen probably due to the old custom of treating sunset as the beginning of the following day. Therefore Twelfth Night would have been considered as occurring on the twelfth day, though in present day custom it is the previous day.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, what a maze.I'm more confused than ever.
First paragraph says "the evening of the fifth January, preceding Twelfth Day.." , but the evening of 5th January IS the twelfth evening. The 5th January IS the twelfth day. Epiphany is the 6th January, so the eve of the Epiphany must be the 5th January.

Seond paragraph: "... the evening of the twelfth day itself... the 6th January". But it's the 5th January that is the twelfth night.

"Twelfth Night would have been considered as occurring on the twelfth day" (which I say is the 5th)
"though in present day custom it is the previous day" The 4th then?! Don't they mean "the following day"?

Wikipedia could have explained it better. I think what it's trying to say is that really the name "Twelfth Night" is applied to the evening of the twelfth night (5th Jan), continuing into the thirteenth day until sundown. All of that period is "Twelfth Night". The first day of Christmas, using that logic, would be 26th December (evening of 25th to evening of 26th). Would that be right? I don't mean to take up lots of precious time;I only raised this in the first place because I thought Father Brown would have all this at his fingertips!

Fr Michael Brown said...

Dear Sweep I can`t fault your logic. Unfortunately I don`t have it at my finger tips as twelfth night has no liturgical significance but is part of the folklore around Christmas. I`m not very well up on folklore.

Anonymous said...

Hello Father Martin here. As u probably know about there is WYD group going from the North East we now have a blog which is
It would be really good if u could put the blog as a link on your blog.This would hopefully get every1 looking at your blog connected to the WYD blog which wud be great for support. Enjoy your trip!!!