Today’s Saint

Daily Journey with the Saints

April 12 | The Senses

Saint Julius I

A.D. 280–352

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge awakens after being visited by three spirits and says something astounding: 

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." 

It’s an amazing quote to meditate on. But before getting to that, let’s turn to today’s saint, who answers a question you may have wondered about before: Who decided December 25th was Christmas in the first place?

Pope Saint Julius I declared December 25th to be the birthday of Jesus around the year 350 AD. There are various theories as to why he chose this date. Some people say it is because the Romans celebrated the birthday of the Roman god of the sun on that day. But the more likely explanation is the belief that Jesus died on the anniversary of his conception: March 25th (calculated by the Passover of that year). So, nine months after the date of both his conception and death would be December 25th. 

Whatever his reasoning, we have Julius I to thank for giving us this one date on which all Christians can gather and celebrate the birth of our Savior.

If you’re reading this on April 12, Christmas is 257 days away. That’s a little under nine months. How can you keep the spirit of Christmas alive for the next 257 days, and every day after that?

A great way is to fully engage your senses in everyday life. 

This means engaging all your physical senses (hearing, smell, taste, touch, and sight) and your spiritual senses: imagination, intuition, empathy, motivation, awareness, to name but a few.

Perhaps it is easier to think about the physical senses. During Christmas, there’s the classic music, the fire crackling, the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, the incense at church, and the manger. On every other day of the year, our physical senses are just as powerful, but it’s often easier to ignore them. What sights, smells, and sounds is God calling your attention to right now?

Consider your spiritual senses as well. How is God inviting you to engage your imagination today? How about your intuition and empathy? What area of your life is God calling you to engage your motivation?

These are questions we can ask ourselves every day of the year. And then we too can say: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."


I will deeply engage my physical and spiritual senses today.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Feast Day: April 12

Feast Day Shared By: Saint Zeno and Saint Joseph Moscati

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