From Scott P. Richert, your Guide to Catholicism
When was the First Day of Christmas? OK, it’s a bit of a trick question, since I used the past tense “was” rather than “is.” If you know that the First Day of Christmas hasn’t happened yet, give yourself a gold star!
Here in these final days of Advent (not “the Christmas season”), the Church counts down until Christmas using the O Antiphons. You can find each O Antiphon for today through Monday by scrolling down to the “Featured Articles” section of this newsletter.
Perhaps it’s been going on my entire life, but I first noticed the phenomenon a couple years ago. Starting on December 13 or 14, depending on how mathematically/calendrically challenged the particular blogger or business is, the countdown to Christmas begins.
Is Richard Dawkins a “Christian double agent”? That’s the claim a friend of mine made on Facebook after reading the latest story of the English celebrity atheist’s “bad arguments and silly antics.” I hasten to assure you that my friend’s tongue was firmly planted in his cheek—although his humorous explanation for Dawkins’ actions is perhaps the most charitable one that can be made.
For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I’m featuring a photo submitted by About.com member KathNC to our Christmas Trees – Pictures and Stories. This is the first time that I’ve used a reader-submitted photo for Wordless Wednesday, but it won’t be the last. Click the headline above to find out how to submit your photo for use in a future Wordless Wednesday.
- Reading for December 17
In Isaiah 45:1-13, we read of a Christ-figure: Cyrus the Great, king of the Persians, whom God used as a protector of the Jews, even though Cyrus did not profess faith in Him. The works ascribed to Cyrus are those that are later performed by Christ.
- Reading for December 18
The Israelites were constantly tempted to abandon faith in God and to turn to idols instead. In Isaiah 46:1-13, the Lord reveals the futility of idols. He created us; He alone is our God; and He alone can save us. His plan of salvation will soon begin, with the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.
- Reading for December 19
In Isaiah 47:1, 3b-15, we discover the fate of Babylon, which represents those who have rejected the Lord. God used Babylon to punish the Israelites (the Babylonian captivity), but the Babylonians never came to worship Him. Now, as Christ comes and Israel is restored in the New Testament Church, Babylon will be punished for her unbelief.
- Reading for December 20
In Isaiah 48:1-11, the Lord tells the people of Israel that His prophecies, announced in the past and already fulfilled, were to keep Israel from falling into the worship of idols. Now, the Lord will announce new prophecies–those concerning Christ–and the fact that they have not been heard before will be evidence of the power of God, once they are fulfilled.