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St. Anastasia (Feast Day December 25)
Second Century – Third Century
St. Anastasia, also known as Anastasia of Sirmium, is a Christian saint and martyr who suffered for Christ during the time of Diocletian’s Christian persecutions. She is one of the seven women commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.
Legend holds that Anastasia’s father was a noble pagan named Praetextatus and her mother was St. Fausta of Sirmium. Because her mother was a Christian, Anastasia was baptized as an infant and secretly raised with Christian values. Following the death of her mother, Anastasia’s father gave her in marriage to the pagan Publius, but she preserved her virginity.
During the persecutions of Diocletian, Anastasia secretly visited the prisons and cared for the suffering captives. Anastasia’s servant informed Publius, and he locked her up and beat her. Anastasia began secretly corresponding with her adviser, St. Chrysogonus, who had gone to Aquileia. He told her to be brave, be patient and accept the Lord’s will. After the death of her husband, Anastasia distributed her property to those less fortunate and suffering.
She then set off to follow Chrysogonus to Aquileia. Chrysogonus was personally interrogated by Diocletian but he never renounced his faith. Chrysogonus was ordered to be beheaded and thrown into the sea. Afterward, Anastasia returned to Sirmium and also gave her life for the faith.
TAKE TIME TO CHAT
· Why do you think God first revealed the birth of Jesus to the shepherds?
· What is the good news that was announced to the shepherds that night?
· Why is the birth of Jesus so important to all people?
· In what way can you share the good news of Jesus with others this Christmas season?
Take the nativity figures from your nativity display and hide them all over the house. (Before hiding the baby Jesus, wrap the figure in wrapping paper.) Invite family members to search for the figures and then place them in the appropriate place in the nativity set. Ask them to tell the story of the birth of Jesus from the perspective of that figure. The baby Jesus should be unwrapped and placed last in the nativity set. Remind children that Jesus is the best gift we can ever receive!
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Cucumber Christmas Tree Appetizers
Celebrate the Christmas season with this easy appetizer.
butter and mayonnaise (or cream cheese)
sliced ham (optional)
white sandwich bread
thinly sliced cucumbers, cut in half
block cheese or yellow pepper
Cut bread and ham into Christmas tree shape with a cookie cutter or with a bread knife. Spread butter and mayonnaise (or cream cheese) on the bread. Place ham on top. Pat dry the cucumbers. Place them over the bread, covering it with green. Cut a small star out of cheese or a yellow bell pepper for an additional decoration at the top of the tree. Serve immediately.
Praying with Music
Search YouTube for a video of The Huron Carol that includes the lyrics. As a family, watch the video and pay attention to the lyrics. This song was originally written by Jesuit missionary, Jean de Brébeuf for the Huron people in their native language. As you listen, reflect on what Jesus’ birth means to you and your family.
During the Gloria at Mass, we echo the words of the angels in today’s Gospel story: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When you sing the Gloria today, imagine being one of the shepherds in the field to whom the angels appeared on the night of Jesus’ birth.
Focus on keeping Christ at the center of your Christmas day today. One easy way is set aside any secular Christmas carols and movies and replace them with ones that emphasize the reason for the season. Try to make Mass the focal point of your family Christmas celebration.
The Christmas wreath is a symbol of eternal life. The circle represents the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross, the little red berries symbolize drops of blood, and the evergreen plants represent eternal life.