- Faith and Worship
- How Do I...
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: December 25, 2017
Click on the button above to learn about the many feast days and saints celebrated during the Christmas season as well as about the history of Christmas carols, suggested Christmas movies, Bible studies, prayers, blessings and more.
Merry Christmas! The word, "Christmas" is derived from the Greek, "Christos," which means "anointed one," and the Latin, "Missa," which means "to send." In other words, the anointed one is sent. This feast commemorates the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. In doing so, God became flesh, making the salvation of the world possible.
The incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh, (the Latin "in carne" means "enfleshment") is the second most important feast of the liturgical year after Easter. Belief in the incarnation is a uniquely Christian teaching — the Divine choosing to become one of us, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The basis for this belief comes directly from the Angel of the Lord, first in the annunciation and later in a dream. "'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a Son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, 'God is with us.'" (Matthew 1:20-23)
"In other words, God is with us to save us," explained Bishop Anthony B. Taylor in a 2016 homily. "'God is with us' points to Jesus' identity as the Second Person of the blessed Trinity, while 'God saves' points to the reason for Jesus' birth: God will save us through him." That truly is good news of great joy!
Visit our Christmas resources to learn about the many feast days and saints celebrated during the Christmas season as well as about the history of Christmas carols, suggested Christmas movies, Bible studies, prayers, blessings and more.
In his homily, Bishop Taylor summed up what Christmas means for us today.
"Today I proclaim to you a message of hope: We have that Savior — he is Jesus, whose very name means God saves. He was born on Christmas. Welcome him into your heart. The darkness will dissipate and his light will grow in you and fill you with hope, meaning and purpose the more you conform your life to his. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. He is the light that is stronger than any darkness we will ever have to face."