This feast has held a special place in my heart since I got married 8 years ago. In that year, our wedding Mass was the day before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which made it stick out in my mind. Every year, our anniversary falls during the Christmas season, varying of course in how close it is to this feast. I just love that our wedding occurred liturgically during Christmas. :)
But I also love the symbolism of this feast, and the fact that it signals the end of Christmas and the beginning of the winter segment of Ordinary Time. It feels like such a fresh start for January. And Lent/Easter is never far off, so something to look forward to.
Hank and I were admiring the Christmas decorations for the last time yesterday during Mass. He got to see the wise men at the stable, and yesterday also marked the Rite of Acceptance for the RCIA candidates in our parish. Whenever I see an RCIA ritual, I think of my friend Irena who came home to the Church during the Easter vigil in 2011. That was such a special year, and although I'm a cradle Catholic, I learned so much from her about the RCIA process. I was sad that I couldn't be at the different rites with her since she lives about 7 hours from me (although I was at her baptism/confirmation, wouldn't have missed that for the world, even at 36 weeks pregnant!) but each week we would talk about the rituals and how excited she was about them all. So meaningful.
So anyway, the Rite of Acceptance was yesterday, formally marking those participating as catechumens (preparing for baptism) or candidates (already baptized, but preparing for confirmation and full communion in the Church). This year we have 6 adults who will be received into the Church on the Easter vigil. Beautiful! I get teared up just thinking about it.
Henry and I were also talking about his upcoming first reconcilliation in early March. He's nervous about it, but I'm trying to reassure him. Back when I was making my sacraments, we did first reconcilliation AND first communion in second grade. It seems to be the norm that it is not done that way anymore. Henry does first confession this year (in second grade) and first communion next year in third grade. But I promised him that I would buy him his very own big boy rosary from Carm at unbreakablerosaries to commemorate the occasion and we went online yesterday to select one. He has his eye on one (the center medal is Bl. John Paul II, I'm thrilled!) and as long as he doesn't change his mind (which he's prone to do) I'll order that by the end of the week. He's precious.