Jan 012012

Janaury 1 is the eighth day of Christmastide and the octave of Christmas

Octave of the Nativity of the Lord

GodcakesToday is the Octave (oc-tave, not to be confused with oc-tive which is spelled the same—I love our language) of Christmas or the eight day of celebrating the Christmas Feast. This practice comes from the Hebrew tradition of celebrating many of their feasts for eight days such as Feast of Tabernacles and the Dedication of the Temple. There was a custom in Coventry, England of visiting one’s Godchild on this day. The Godparents brought Godcakes, triangular cakes in honor of the Trinity with a sweet filling, to their Godchildren. Perhaps this is a tradition you could start.

There are also two other Feast celebrated today:

Feast of the Circumcision of Christ

Giovanni Bellini - The CircumcisionAccording to the Law, Jesus would have been circumcised today and His name would have been formally proclaimed by his father. The beginning of the redemption for humans is celebrated in this feast as His blood was shed for the first time in obedience to the Law.

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Mary Holding JesusSince the 5th century, we have celebrated the role of Mary as the mother of God. Today is not a celebration of Mary the person but a celebration that the created formed the creator.

Jesus—fully God and fully human—developed in the womb of Mary. This is one of the reasons she prophesied that “all generations shall call be blessed”.


Eight Maids A-milking

Today’s gifts are Eight Maids A-Milking representing the eight Beatitudes (the supreme callings and blessing of following Jesus) given by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Today’s Readings

The Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord AND The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (Lectionary: 18)

“Our Lord needs from us neither great deeds nor profound thoughts. Neither intelligence nor talents. He cherishes simplicity.” ~ Saint Therese of Lisieux