My blog post yesterday on Christmas reminded me of my fondness for the month of December. As the twelfth and last month of the year, it abounds with memorable days. The biggest celebration is, of course, Christmas, marking the birth of Jesus. Christmas is preceded by Advent, running this year from November 27 to December 24, a time of penance and fasting, like Lent before Easter, to prepare for the festivity of Jesus’ birthday. December 8 is observed in the Catholic church to honor the Immaculate Conception, the belief that the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus divinely, without the intervention of a human male. Then there’s the universally celebrated New Year’s, a time for partying. But January 1 is also a religious holiday. It is the day the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, a major feast day and a holy day of obligation.

That leaves the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah or Chanukah, which runs this year from 18th through the 26th of December. It commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where, according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

So December is a month overflowing with commemorations and celebrations. It is a time to contemplate our origins and be thankful for our lot. Enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “December”

  1. Hello, Tom, I enjoyed today’s post about December, as I always doyour reflections. One minor clarification. Advent isn’t aboutpenance and fasting. That is the season of Lent, leadingup to Easter. Advent is the season of waiting for thebirth of Jesus. It’s the four weeks prior to Christmasthat Catholics (and a growing number of other Christiansnowadays) challenge themselves to go against the grainof today’s culture during the holiday season.We are supposed to slow down. Stay put. Simplify.Not buy, buy, party and blitz, the waystores & restaurants blasting their jingly holiday music would prefer. It’s hard as heck to do, but it’s a peaceful timefilled with wisdom. I  think Advent is a state of mind that allcan appreciate, even those not religious.  Because we’reall rushing, not waiting for change and gifts to unfold.But can we appreciate this singular moment? This beautiful sunrise on a crisp December morning?And if we can’t — if our mind is a frenzy soup—we get to begin again. Advent lasts four weeks.  Trust me, I am the worst offender. But the remindingmyself that it is Advent helps me tremendously. And Ithink sometimes that Lent with its penance and sacrificeis sometimes “easier.” We can gut out things. But canwe be still in the moment? I love Advent. It’s my favorite time of year. That’swhy I hope you don’t mind my sharing this. Here’s to waiting…Rose


  2. Thanks so much, Rose. As always, your comments add truth and insight. What I was describing in the post was the way I experienced Advent when I was growing up as a Catholic child in Oakland, California. It was indeed for me and mine a time of penance and self-control that made the celebration of Christmas all the more delightful. It may well be that the propel in my parish misunderstood the season and made it too grim.


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