3.28 Is Christmas the greatest feast or holiday of the year?
After Easter and Pentecost, Christmas is the most important feast-day of the year. At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus, God himself, was born as a human being so he could be very close to us and show us the way to God.
To help us realise the magnificence of this event, Christmas is celebrated during an eight-day period called the Christmas Octave.
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What does the Gospel teach about the mysteries of the birth and infancy of Jesus?
At Christmas the glory of heaven is shown forth in the weakness of a baby; the circumcision of Jesus is a sign of his belonging to the Hebrew people and is a prefiguration of our Baptism; the Epiphany is the manifestation of the Messiah King of Israel to all the nations; at the presentation in the temple, Simeon and Anna symbolise all the anticipation of Israel awaiting its encounter with its Savior; the flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents proclaim that the entire life of Christ will be under the sign of persecution; the departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents Jesus as the new Moses and the true and definitive liberator. [CCCC 103]
To peoples in all parts of the world who are moving with courage towards the values of democracy, freedom, respect and mutual acceptance, and to all persons of good will, whatever their culture, the joyful message of Christmas is today addressed: "Peace on earth to those on whom God’s favour rests" (cf. Lk 2:14). Of humanity as it approaches the new millennium, You, Lord Jesus, born for us at Bethlehem ask respect for every person, especially the small and the weak; you ask for an end to all forms of violence!... Thank you, Child Jesus, for this your gift! [Pope John Paul II, Urbi et Orbi Christmas 2000, n. 6]