Holydays are near to come to a close. Because, as we say in Italian, "l'Epifania tutte le feste porta via" (Epiphany carries away all feasts).
Of course I am speaking of the Christmas holydays.
Here, around the turning of the year, the liturgical cycle is started once again. All the other feasts will follow, until Pentecost comes, that really closes it, and the Church enters a period of the year defined as "ordinary time".
Once, a cousin of mine expressed her perplexity toward the religion from which she has been estranged since a long time, by questioning "all that ritualism". She simply couldn't understand why the Church indulges in her liturgy.
The answer wouldn't be hard to give, however hard it might be to comprehend it: to live eternity in time.
Without it minutes, hours, days, month, years, centuries, millennia, would flow indifferently one into the next. Nothing to make a difference. Even to speak of a new year has no meaning, save that of an arbitrary counting of the passing of time.
There would be no holydays, but at best vacation time. How utterly sad that would be, not to have anything to celebrate.
To celebrate means to make things new: to recall something, and, by recalling it, to make it happen again. Like when we celebrate an anniversary, to bring back the joy that somebody's birth brought into our lives. And what is after all Christmas, if not the celebration of an anniversary?
In the same way, all the following feasts of the liturgical calendar save us from time, as the pure abstract sequence in which things, no one knows how assembled together, run toward their dissolution.
Once again, Marry Christmas and a Happy New year. That it be for you all an year of epiphany.