Christmas is such a great time for evangelization … thank God it’s not over. As noted at the “Dynamic Catholic” website, the online home for Matthew Kelly’s exciting engine of faithful discipleship, the Christmas season begins on Christmas and ends on January 8, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
This is still a great time to sing Christmas songs, especially “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as explains. That song is a masterwork combining evangelization (through its joy) with catechesis (through its content) and the excitement of learning truth (through its “secret code”).
You can break the code, which first was used in England during a time when evangelization and catechesis in public were dangerous for Catholics. Suffice it to say that the “Partridge in a Pear Tree,” the first gift from which all of the song’s other gifts spring forth, is Jesus Christ, born on Christmas Day. All the gifts are given by true love. You might call our Church “the Partridge Family.”
The twelve days of Christmas, which extend through the eve of the Epiphany, are still in our grasp, so let our evangelizing take the form of cheerful re-gifting. Thanks to Matthew Kelly’s “All About Christmas” page and the decoding provided there, we can seize the opportunity at every holiday gathering (including New Year’s Eve) to tell the story behind that song about the twelve days—and to reveal the item of truth behind one of those days as an extra “bonus question.”
For example, the Seven Swans A-Swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Kelly is well-known for his insight that we should not let major Catholic holy days or key “Catholic moments” in a person’s life go to waste. Each is an opportunity to combine joy with learning, annunciations with pondering, epiphanies with wisdom. Christmas and Easter are ideal times for missionary discipleship because, behold, all the Catholics have come to Church! These are the days when pastors and dioceses may want to give everyone a good, free-of-charge book about the faith, Kelly advises.
Perhaps New Year’s Eve is a day of similar opportunity. During the morning of this day, (one hopes) no one has started partying yet, but lots of folks may be receptive to ideas to help them establish a brilliant New Year’s Resolution. It’s a good day for true love, for bestowing a gift of faithful, reasonable Catholic truth; such truth too often becomes coded or masked by our popular culture.
Even if Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, is not a good day for passing out books, it could lead to comfortable moments for cocktail party chatter, mentions of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” as holiday trivia, and reasons for recipients to seek out the decoding page at “Dynamic Catholic” after the hangover has subsided. It turns out “Five Gold Rings” really does mean something!
Then, mission accomplished, let the next piece of trivia be about The Partridge Family.