The Eight Days of Christmas
(Octave of Christmas)
Why do we celebrate for eight days?
In the ancient world, the Church granted a period of eight days in to order to contemplate the mysteries experienced in the Church’s liturgy. The Church felt that because life was hectic and filled with pressures, eight days were needed.
December 25: The First Day of the Christmas Octave, The Nativity of the Lord
December 26: The Second Day of the Christmas Octave, St. Stephen, First Martyr
December 27: The Third Day of the Christmas Octave, St. John the Apostle, Evangelist
December 28: The Fourth Day of the Christmas Octave, The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
December 29: The Fifth Day of the Christmas Octave, Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr
December 30: The Sixth Day of the Christmas Octave, The Holy Family
December 31: The Seventh Day of the Christmas Octave, Sylvester I, Pope
January 1: The Eighth Day of the Christmas Octave, The Mother of God
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God falls exactly one week after Christmas, the end of the octave of Christmas. When we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we are not only honoring Mary, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human.
Mary, the Mother of God
Stained Glass Window in the Choir Loft at St. Mary's Church
Calling Mary "Mother of God" is the highest honor we can give Mary.
Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the "Prince of Peace," the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honors Mary as the "Queen of Peace"
This solemnity, falling on New Year's Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace.
At the end of each day we should give thanks for the wonder of God's gift
to us in the coming of Jesus into our world.