8 day christmas

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight maids a-milkin’

The eight maids can symbolize the Beatitudes, part of the Sermon on the Mount

In this Christmas season, it is fitting that we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. While Mary was conceived without sin, she also had free will. She could have told God “no” when the Angel Gabriel approached her with God’s plan. Thanks be to God, that was not the case. Her resounding “yes” echoes down through the centuries, so that we – some 2,000 years from the birth of the Infant Jesus – not only rejoice in the birth of our Savior, but follow Mary’s model of perfect obedience to the will of God.

Fr. Steve Grunow, of Word on Fire Ministries, reflects on today’s solemnity:

Today, while much of the world marks the new beginning of the calendar year, the Church commemorates the great solemnity of the Mother of God.

What does this mean?

That the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God means that the child— conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, carried in her body for nine months, and born into this world— is God. As such, this celebration highlights the pivotal truth of the Church’s Faith- that God has, in Jesus Christ, accepted a human nature, chosen to be born into this world as we have all been born into this world, and has lived a real, human life.

In doing so, God has accepted the full implication of what is means to be human, including the experiences of suffering and death.

Like everything about Mary, today’s feast is really her reflection of her Son. Her motherhood is not about her; it is about Jesus. Her life is not her own; she willingly placed herself at God’s feet, as the “handmaid of the Lord.” She instructs us, “Do whatever He tells you,” just as she instructed the waiters at the wedding feast at Cana. Mary, the Holy Mother of God, always places herself and her will, under obedience, to God. Her most fervent wish is that we do the same.

[From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us.” There are, however, the traditional “12 Days of Christmas,” captured in the song of the same title. Some claim the song was meant as catechism of a sort, written and sung for nearly 300 years of British persecution of Catholics. We will be using both the song and the Church’s liturgical calendar to celebrate the Christmas season. We hope you enjoy.]