December: Month of the Immaculate Conception and the Divine Infancy

The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first 24 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence.

The month of December is filled with expectation and celebration. Preparation is the key word for the first 24 days of December. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking and cleaning. Too often, however, we are so busy with the material preparations that we lose sight of the real reason for our activity.

Christmas is a Christian feast — and we must reclaim it as such! In the same way that a family eagerly prepares for a baby, so in Advent should we prepare for the coming of the Christ Child. We should keep Advent as a season of waiting and longing, of conversion and of hope and keep our thoughts on the incredible love and humility of our God in taking on the flesh of the Virgin Mary. Let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell.

The best person we can turn to for help during Advent is Mary, Christ's and our Mother. She awaited the day of His birth with more eagerness than any other human being. Her preparation was complete in every respect. Let's crown our preparation and borrow something of Mary's prayerfulness, her purity and whole-hearted submission to God's will.

The liturgy of Advent focuses on remembering Christ's first coming at Bethlehem which then directs our mind to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. The readings focus on the people of the Old Testament awaiting the Messiah, John the Baptist, heralding the way for Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary and her maternal preparations.

The main Feasts of Advent are 

Christmastide begins with the First Vespers (Evening Prayer) of Christmas on December 24th and ends on the Sunday after Epiphany. Christmas and Easter are the only solemnities with octaves attached in the revised calendar. The Christmas octave differs from Easter in that it includes some major feasts: 
The feast of the Holy Family (December 30) and 
St. Sylvester I (December 31). The octave closes on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

The feasts St. John Damascene, (December 4) and St. Damascus (December 11)are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

The month of December is also dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "From all eternity God chose with infinite wisdom the woman who would be the Mother of His divine Son. To prepare for the Word Incarnate a spotless and holy tabernacle, God created Mary in grace and endowed her from the moment of her conception with all the perfections suited to her exalted dignity. St. Thomas teaches that through her intimacy with Christ, the principle of grace, she possessed beyond all creatures a fullness of divine life." — Liturgical Meditations, The Sisters of St. Dominic.

Novena for the feast of the Immaculate Conception - Texts by St Josemaria
πŸŽ• November 30: Mary, Full of Grace
πŸŽ• December 1: Mother of us all, Mother of each of us
πŸŽ• December 2: Mary, Teacher of Prayer
πŸŽ• December 3: Mary, Woman of Faith
πŸŽ• December 4: Mary, Mother of Fair Love
πŸŽ• December 5: Holy Mary, Our Hope
πŸŽ• December 6: Mary, Our Refuge and Our Strength
πŸŽ• December 7: Mary, Our Teacher in everyday life
πŸŽ• December 8: Our Lady Queen of Apostles

Novena to the Immaculate Conception
Novena in Honour of the Immaculate Conception - By St. Maximilian Kolbe

πŸŽ„ Advent

(Latin ad-venio, to come to).

According to present [1907] usage, Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as 27 November, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as 3 December, giving the season only twenty-one days.

With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During this time the faithful are admonished

πŸŽ… To prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
πŸŽ… Thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
πŸŽ… Thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

While we typically regard Advent as a joyous season, it is also intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate during this season.

Advent is not as strict as Lent, and there are no rules for fasting, but it is meant to be a period of self-preparation. The purple color associated with Advent is also the color of penance. The faithful should fast during the first two weeks in particular and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The color of the Third Sunday of Advent is rose. This color symbolizes joy and represents the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes again. The Third Sunday is a day of anticipatory celebration. It is formerly called "Gaudete" Sunday; gaudete means "rejoice" in Latin.

Finally, Sundays during Advent, just as during Lent, should not be given to fasting, but instead to celebration because we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord every Sunday. It is important to remember, however, there are no particular rules for how the laity should observe Advent.

πŸŽ„ Advent Novena

Starting on St. Andrew's Feast day, November 30), the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming. 

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment 
In which the Son of God was born
 Of the most pure Virgin Mary, 
at midnight, in Bethlehem, 
in the piercing cold. 
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, 
O my God, 
to hear my prayer and grant my desires, 
[hear mention your request] 
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, 
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen. 

πŸŽ„ My Christmas Pledge

I Promise . . .

I. To make my Christmas a holy day with Christ-----not a holiday without Him. 
2. To observe Christmas as the birthday of Christ-----not a day to give and receive material gifts. 
3. To remember that the real symbols of Christmas are the Star, the Stable and the Crib-----not Santa Claus and his reindeer. 
4. To teach my children that "Santa Claus" is the nickname of St. Nicholas-----who gave to the poor in honor of Christ. 
5. To help one poor family-----in honor of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family of Bethlehem. 
6. To send Christmas cards remindful of Him, the Infant Savior-----not decorated only with candy canes, dogs, ribbons and wreaths. 
7. To make room in my home for Him-----with a Christmas Crib to remind me that He was born in a stable. 
8. During the Christmas season, in a special way, to honor Mary, His mother-----who kept the first Christmas vigil beside the manger. 
9. To begin Christmas by leading my family to His altar-----to receive the Bread of Life. 
10. Today and every day, to give "Glory to God in the highest"-----to work and pray for "Peace on earth to men of good will." 

Nihil Obstat: Joseph A. M. Quigley, Censor Librorum 
Imprimatur, + John J Krol, D.D., J.C.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia, March, 1964 

🀢 Advent Wreath

πŸŽ„ December : Saint of the Day

⛪ December 01 : St. Eligius, or Eloy
⛪ December 01 : St. Edmund Campion
⛪ December 02 : St. Bibiana
⛪ December 02 : Bl Liduina Meneguzzi
⛪ December 02 : Bl Maria Angela Astorch
⛪ December 02 : Bl Rafal Chylinski
⛪ December 03 : St. Francis Xavier
⛪ December 04 : 
St. Barbara 
 December 04 : St. John Damascene
⛪ December 05 : St. Sabas
⛪ December 05 : Bl Philip Rinald
⛪ December 05 Bl Niels Stenson
⛪ December 06 : St. Nicholas
⛪ December 07 : St. Ambrose
⛪ December 08 : Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
⛪ December 09 : Saint Leocadia of Toledo
⛪ December 09 : Bl. Juan Diego
⛪ December 10 : St. Eulalia of Merida
⛪ December 10 : St. John Roberts
⛪ December 11 :  Pope Saint Damasus I
⛪ December 11 :  Bl Martin of Saint Nicholas and Melchior of Saint Augustine
⛪ December 12 : Our Lady of Guadalupe
 December 12 : St. Finnian of Clonard
⛪ December 13 : St. Lucy
⛪ December 13 : St. Judoc
⛪ December 13 : St. Aubert
⛪ December 13 : Bl. John Marinoni
⛪ December 13 : St. Othilia
⛪ December 14 : 
St. Nicasius
⛪ December 14 : St. John of the Cross ( Nov 24)
⛪ December 15 : St. Nino
⛪ December 15 : The Blessed Martyrs of Drina
⛪ December 15 : St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli
⛪ December 16 : St. Eusebius ( Aug 02)
⛪ December 17 : St. Olympias
⛪ December 18 : 
St. Gatian
⛪ December 18 : Bl. Anthony Grassi
⛪ December 18 : Bl. Nemesia Valle
⛪ December 19 : St. Nemesion
⛪ December 19 : Bl. Urban V
⛪ December 20 : St. Philogonius
⛪ December 20 : St. Dominic of Silos
⛪ December 21 : St. Peter Canisius
⛪ December 22 : St. Chaeremon 
⛪ December 22 : St. Flavian of Acquapendente
⛪ December 22 : St. Ischyrion & Other Martyrs
⛪ December 23 : St. John of Kanty
⛪ December 24 : St. Charbel
⛪ December 25 : Christmas, the Birthday of Jesus
⛪ December 25 : St. Adalsind
⛪ December 26 : St. Stephen
⛪ December 27 : St. John the Apostle
⛪ December 28 : Feast of the Holy Innocents
⛪ December 29 : St. Thomas Becket
⛪ December 30 : St. Anysia
⛪ December 30 : St. Sabinus and his Companions Martyrs
⛪ December 31 : St. Sylvester
⛪ December 31 : Bl. Giuseppina Nicoli