THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS.
WE apply the name of Christmas to the forty days,
which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, Decem-
ber 25th, and end with the Purification of the
Blessed Virgin, February 2nd. It is a period, which
forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as
distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other,
as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same
Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the
whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, ,
which so abound during this Season; nor the Time of
Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often
begins before Christmastide is over; seem able to
distract our Holy Mother the Church, from the im-
mense joy, of which she received the good tidings
from the Angels, on that glorious Night, for which
the world had been longing four thousand years.
The Faithful will remember, that the Liturgy com-
memorates this long expectation, by the four peni-
tential weeks of Advent.
The custom of celebrating the Solemnity of our
Saviour's Nativity by a feast or commemoration of
i St. Luke, ii. 10.