December 2018 – Overview for the Month

The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first day of December falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green. The next 22 days fall during the liturgical season of 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 Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of December 2018
Evangelization: In the Service of the Transmission of Faith: That people, who are involved in the service and transmission of faith, may find, in their dialogue with culture, a language suited to the conditions of the present time. (See also http://popesprayerusa.net/)
Feasts for December

The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of December are:
02. First Sunday of Advent, Sunday
03. Francis Xavier, Memorial
06. Nicholas, Opt. Mem.
07. Ambrose, Memorial
08. Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patronal Feastday of the United States of America , Solemnity
09. Second Sunday of Advent, Sunday
11. Damasus I, Opt. Mem.
12. Our Lady of Guadalupe (USA), Feast
13. Lucy, Memorial
14. John of the Cross, Memorial
16. Third Sunday of Advent, Sunday
21. Peter Canisius, Opt. Mem.
23. Fourth Sunday of Advent, Sunday
25. Christmas, Solemnity
26. Stephen, Feast
27. John, Feast
28. Holy Innocents, Feast
29. Thomas Becket, Opt. Mem.
30. Holy Family, Feast
31. Sylvester I, Opt. Mem.

Focus of the Liturgy
The Gospels for the Sundays in December are taken from St. Luke and are from Year C, Cycle 1 of the readings.

December 2nd – 1st Sunday in Advent
Jesus talks about signs in the sun, the moon and the stars and on earth the nations will be in dismay..

December 9th -2nd Sunday in Advent
The Gospel is about John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness.

December 16th – 3rd Sunday in Advent
The crowds question St. John the Baptist asking him who he is.

December 23rd – 4th Sunday in Advent
This Gospel is about Mary and Elizabeth, the Visitation.

December 30th – Holy Family
In this Gospel Jesus is found in the temple sitting with the teachers answering their questions.

Highlights of the Month
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 St. Francis Xavier (December 3), St. John Damascene, (December 4), St. Nicholas (December 6), St. Ambrose (December 7), Immaculate Conception (December 8), St. Damascus (December 11), Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12), St. Lucy (December 13), St. John of the Cross (December 14) and St. Peter Canisius (December 21).

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: St. Stephen (December 26), St. John the Evangelist (December 27), and St. Thomas Becket (December 29). The octave closes on January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

The feast of St. Juan Diego (December 9) and St. John of Kanty (December 23) are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.
The Reason for the Season

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.

Extract from www.catholicculture.org