The O Antiphon is "O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free." Emmanuel, God-with-us, is our joy.
I came across something today that made me think. There was a big party on Christmas; lots of food and drink; lots of presents, toasts, and much conversation. But, the one who wrote this said that no one remembered that it was his birthday; he was not even thought of and no one had brought him a present. It is a sad Christmas when the Lord Jesus is forgotten; we have made Christmas a great day for eating and drinking and opening presents but what about praying, remembering the one who we celebrate the birth of so many years ago but who is still giving us presents, countless gifts daily, and we do not remember to thank, do not remember to give him the gift he really wants on Christmas, our love, our hearts. Let us plan time to really celebrate with Jesus this Christmas and prepare our gifts with care.I think that stopping to thank for a gift is also a gift.
Here is a tidbit from the Little Blue Book that I did not know about a Christmas custom in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is called "Radish Night" or Noche de Rabanos and all the decorations are carved from radishes, the local specialty. Some of the radishes weigh up to 10 pounds. The festival includes pinatas and fireworks, as well as deep-fried doughnuts, covered in syrup. After a person has eaten the doughnuts, they are to toss the plate over their shoulder. The more shattered pieces of the plate, the better that person's luck in the New Year.
I would not like to have to clean up after that Christmas festival. I like the other custom of the different Posadas or "Inn" that receive the Christchild on the nine days before Christmas. We used to go in procession singing from the different houses that were to host the Infant Jesus with the host carrying the Infant. No radishes but wonderful songs. This was when I was in Chile and I find myself often going back to the torchlight procession on Christmas eve that assembled at our convent school and walked on Christmas eve all the way down to the little Chruch on the beach for Midnight Mass. There was always a live enactment of the Nativity scene as part of the Liturgy. The procession back was still an experience to remember for the joy of all.