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The excitement builds to a climax on the morning of December 25, and then it stops, abruptly.Christmas is over, the New Year begins, and people go back to their normal lives.The Christmas season also sometimes saw the "Feast of the Ass," commemorating the donkey traditionally present at the manger.On this day, people were supposed to bray like a donkey at the points in the Mass where one would normally say "Amen." It is easy to dismiss all these customs as pagan survivals (which many of them are), or at best as irrelevant and harmless follies.
He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. In the words of Michael Card, we are called to "follow God's own fool." And yet, paradoxically, this greatest of revolutionaries was not a rebel.
The Logos through whom the worlds were made took up his dwelling among us in a tabernacle of flesh.
One of the prayers for Christmas Day in the Catholic liturgy encapsulates what Christmas means for all believers: "O God, who marvelously created and yet more marvelously restored the dignity of human nature, grant that we may share the divinity of him who humbled himself to share our humanity." In Christ, our human nature was united to God, and when Christ enters our hearts, he brings us into that union.
In them we see the long agony of those who suffer and die through human injustice, never knowing that they have been redeemed.
If Christ did not come for them too, then surely Christ came in vain.
The three traditional feasts (dating back to the late fifth century) that follow Christmas reflect different ways in which the mystery of the Incarnation works itself out in the body of Christ. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor (as described in the carol "Good King Wenceslas").