Did you know that the Christmas season doesn’t end on December 25th? In fact, it’s just beginning! The Christmas season goes all the way until the Sunday after Epiphany. But while you may have had a prayer routine during Advent to prepare for Christmas, how can you continue to pray throughout this Christmas season?
Fr. Mark told listeners, “Prayer life during Christmas kind of reflects the mystery that we will hear proclaimed at the Masses. And that’s one of silence, pondering, adoration. I think those are kind of the primary dispositions of heart that are exemplified in the mysteries, from the shepherds’ adoration of the Christ Child to Our Lady’s pondering of this mystery as well. Those dispositions of heart – this pondering, this silence, this notion of adoration – really fosters this receiving of the mystery that we are celebrating.”
Fr. Mark also noted that celebrating Christmas is not simply remembering something that happened long ago, but participating in these mysteries that are still real and present in our lives today.
“We have to remember that any time we enter into a liturgical celebration of anything we are trying to make the mystery present again in our life,” he said. “We’re not just going back, thinking about days gone by 2,000 years ago. No, we’re trying to take 2,000 years ago (and therefore the mystery of the Birth of Christ) and make it present to us now so that we can enter into that mystery and allow that mystery to influence and impact our life.”
“The best way to do that is through this notion of silence, adoration, and pondering,” he suggested. “That’s what’s really at the heart of the Christmas mystery. That God has decided to enter into human existence here on earth, and God becoming man is a mystery that is meant for us to hold and to ponder. And ultimately through this pondering, to receive and allow it to impact our life. ”
But this time of the year can be one of the most difficult times to foster silence, pondering, and adoration. Between spending time with family and participating in Christmas traditions, it can be difficult to quiet your heart and mind. And Fr. Mark also pointed out that it’s easier to stay on the surface level of pretty lights and Christmas cookies, rather than diving deep into what Christ’s birth means in our lives. But even though going deeper may make us uncomfortable, it is how we can let the light of Christ shine into our lives and into our world.
“Oftentimes our hearts are very complicated,” he said. “We try to distract ourselves, and try to block this confrontation of God becoming man. Because when the Lord comes into our life He wants to bring change to our life. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable. Because as the Light of the World, He shines light in areas of our hearts that we would rather not have it shined in. Those are just some thoughts on really interiorly preparing and praying through the Christmas mystery.”
Listen to the full conversation below: