The Christmas season begins on December 24th with the Vigil Mass and ends on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
During Christmas, we celebrate the miracle of the Incarnation.
Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary defines Incarnation as:
The union of the divine nature of the Son of God with human nature in the person of Jesus Christ. The Son of God assumed our flesh, body, and soul, and dwelled among us like one of us in order to redeem us. His divine nature was substantially united to our human nature. Formerly the Feast of the Annunciation was called the Feast of the Incarnation. In the Eastern Churches the mystery is commemorated by a special feast on December 26. (Etym. Latin incarnatio; from in-, in + caro, flesh: incarnare, to make flesh.)
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines miracle as:
(Latin miraculum, from mirari, “to wonder”).
In general, a wonderful thing, the word being so used in classical Latin; in a specific sense, the Latin Vulgate designates by miracula wonders of a peculiar kind, expressed more clearly in the Greek text by the terms terata, dynameis, semeia, i.e., wonders performed by supernatural power as signs of some special mission or gift and explicitly ascribed to God.
It’s a time of wonder. In essence, a time of miracles.
As we begin the Christmas season, I want to share a story.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, aka Thérèse Martin. She is one of the most popular saints of modern times.
Have you heard of her Christmas Miracle?
The text below is St. Thérèse’s description of the event from her autobiography.
Let us ask St. Thérèse to help us receive Jesus into our hearts.
Let us always believe in miracles and hope for them this Christmas.
CHRISTMAS GRACE AND AFTER
I certainly did not deserve all the graces Our Lord gave me, for though I really did want to be good, I was full of imperfections. I made myself almost unbearable by being far too sensitive, and nothing that was said to me seemed to help me overcome this tiresome fault.
I do not know how I could think of entering Carmel when it needed a miracle to overcome my childishness, but as it happened, God did work this miracle on Christmas Day in 1886; the Divine Child, scarcely an hour old, flooded the darkness of my soul with radiant light.
By becoming little and weak for love of me, He made me strong and full of courage, and with the arms He gave me, I went from one victory to another, and began to “run as a giant.” (Ps. 18:6).
My tears were dried up at their source, and after that, I hardly ever cried again.
I must tell you how the precious grace of this complete conversion was granted me.
When I got home to Les Buissonnets from Midnight Mass, I knew that I should find my shoes standing at the fireplace, filled with presents, as I had always done since I was little, so you can see I was still treated as a baby.
Father used to love to see how happy I was and hear my cries of delight as I took each surprise packet from my magic shoes, and his pleasure made me happier still. But the time had come for Jesus to cure me of my childishness; even the innocent joys of childhood were to go. He allowed Father to feel cross this year, instead of spoiling me, and as I was going upstairs, I heard him saying: “Thérèse ought to have outgrown all this sort of thing, and I hope this will be the last time.” This cut me to the quick, and Céline, who knew how very sensitive I was, whispered to me: “Don’t come down again just yet; you’ll only go and cry if you open your presents now in front of Father.”
But I was not the same Thérèse any more; Jesus had changed me completely. I held back my tears, and trying to stop my heart from beating so fast, I ran down into the dining room. I picked up the shoes and unwrapped my presents joyfully, looking all the while as happy as a queen. Father did not look cross anymore now and entered into the fun of it, while Céline thought she must have been dreaming. But this was no dream. Thérèse had gotten back forever the strength of mind she had lost at four and a half.
That glorious night, the third period of my life began, the loveliest of all, and the one in which I received the most graces. In one moment, Jesus, content with good will on my part, accomplished what I had been trying to do for years.
I could have said what the Apostles said: “Master, we have labored all night and have taken nothing” (Luke 5:5), but Jesus was even more merciful to me than to them, for He took the net in His own hands, cast it into the water and pulled it out full of fishes, making me too a fisher of men. Charity took possession of my heart, making me forget myself, and I have been happy ever since.
God had lifted me out of my narrow world in a very short time, and I had taken the first step, but the road ahead was long. However, freed from my scruples and over-sensitiveness, my soul grew. I had always loved everything noble and beautiful, and now I had a great thirst for knowledge; not satisfied with what my governess was teaching me, I began to study other subjects by myself and learned more in a few months than I had ever done at school, though this zeal was probably just “vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Eccles. 1:14). As I was so impetuous, this was a very dangerous moment in my life; but God had fulfilled in me that prophecy in Ezekiel: “Behold thy time was the time of lovers: and I spread My garment over thee. And I swore to thee and I entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest Mine. And I washed thee with water, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee with fine garments and put a chain about thy neck. Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil and wast made exceedingly beautiful and wast advanced to be a queen.” (Ezech. 16:8,9,13).