During the eight days following the beautiful feast of Christmas, the Church renews the celebration of the incarnation of Christ each day. These are eight festive and dense days that invite us to meditate on the mystery of God who became man, and which allow us to glimpse that of the cross, but also of the good news of salvation!
Discover the meaning of the Christmas octave and enter into the understanding of the mystery that unfolds during these eight days of celebration! As the octave of Christmas ends on January 1, let us place the year that begins under the eyes of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, celebrated especially on this holy day!
The feast of Christmas unfolds throughout an octave - from the Latin octavus meaning eighth - that is to say eight consecutive days on December 25, each day renewing the feast of the birth of the Lord. The “octave” day is the eighth day that closes the solemnity.
If the liturgy plans to celebrate the two biggest feasts - Easter and Christmas - during an octave, it is because it keeps a trace of the tradition of the Eastern churches that celebrated the major feasts for an entire week.
During the octave of Christmas, the Church celebrates several feasts related to the mystery of the birth of Christ: that of Saint Stephen, the first martyr; the feast of Saint John, a disciple of Christ whose prologue - "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14) - is proclaimed on Christmas Day; that of the Holy Family; and finally that of the Holy Innocents, who participate by their sacrifice in the mystery of redemption.
The Catholic Church also celebrates the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, on the last day of the octave with the feast of Mary, Mother of God.
If on the last day of the octave of Christmas, we celebrate Mary, Mother of God: it is because it is in Mary that the octave is concluded, that the mystery is internalized. Indeed, to meditate on the birth of Christ is to enter into the heart of Mary, into the embrasure of her divine motherhood, for it is through her that everything begins!
In celebrating Mary, Mother of God, it is also our mother that we pray to, to whom we turn! For Mary is also mother of the Church and mother of all men. As a mother, she is particularly close to us, she guides us on the way to holiness and protects us as a mother does with her children.
Thus, on January 1, Christmas octave day, let us place the year that begins under his eyes!
The octave of Christmas is an opportunity for everyone to end the year under the eyes of God, little child in the crib, and to place the year that begins under the eyes of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother!
With Hozana, meditate on these great mysteries during the eight days of the octave by joining these prayer communities: