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December 28, 2016, 12:00 AM

A word at mid-week 12/28

Greetings from mid-week, the 4th Day of the 12 Days of Christmas [also known as Christmastide]! 

The 12 Days of Christmas: December 25 - January 5

The 12 Days have been celebrated in Europe since before the middle ages and were a time of celebration. The 12 Days each traditionally celebrate a feast day for a saint and/or have different celebrations:

  1. Day 1 (25th December): Christmas Day - celebrating the Birth of Jesus
  2. Day 2 (26th December also known as Boxing Day): St Stephen's Day. He was the first Christian martyr (someone who dies for their faith). It's also the day when the Christmas Carol 'Good King Wenceslas' takes place.
  3. Day 3 (27th December): St John the Apostle (One of Jesus's Disciples and friends)
  4. Day 4 (28th December): The Feast of the Holy Innocents - when people remember the baby boys which King Herod killed when he was trying to find and kill the Baby Jesus.
  5. Day 5 (29th December): St Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century and was murdered on 29th December 1170 for challenging the King's authority over Church.
  6. Day 6 (30th December): St Egwin of Worcester.
  7. Day 7 (31st December): New Years Eve (known as Hogmanay in Scotland). Pope Sylvester I is traditionally celebrated on this day. He was one of the earliest popes (in the 4th Century). In certain parts of the world, New Years Eve is still sometimes called 'Silvester'.
  8. Day 8 (1st January): 1st January - Feast of the Holy Name. This remembers when Jesus was officially 'named' in the Jewish Temple.
  9. Day 9 (2nd January): St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, two important 4th century Christians.
  10. Day 10 (3rd January): St. Genevieve was born about the year 422, at Nanterre near Paris. The life of St. Genevieve was one of great austerity, constant prayer, and works of charity.
  11. Day 11 (4th January): St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  12. Day 12 (5th January also known as Epiphany Eve): St. John Neumann who was the first Bishop in American. He lived in the 19th century.

St. Matthew's enjoyed two wonderful and beautiful celebrations over Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the church was filled with people - members of the church, guests, children, and family members of parishioners! We sang the Christmas Proclamation, blessed the Creche, enjoyed a wonderful extended Prelude by the Choir and Hand Bell Choir, heard the reading from the Prologue to John's Gospel, and sang Silent Night in the warm glow of candlelight.

On Christmas Day, we enjoyed an intimate setting with a smaller group, sang traditional Christmas hymns, and had a special candle lighting ceremony acknowledging that for many, the holidays can be hard and painful. The celebration ended with a rousing rendition of Go Tell It on the Mountain!

The church was beautifully appointed with greens and ribbons and candles and two Creche's and flowers and more! Thank you to Nancy who led the charge and to all who helped her with hanging things, putting trees in stands, setting up the Creches, and transforming the church from Advent to Christmastide!

Also, thank you all who generously donated money for flowers and altar decorations!!! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

God's love to you all! Fr. Frank

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