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.