This coming Sunday is Gaudete Sunday. A genuine time to "rejoice" at the coming birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As Catholics we should always rejoice, mindful that our God-made-man lived among us, was born into relative poverty and obscurity, to deliver us from the grip of sin and open the gates of Heaven to us all, if we make our lives worthy of that reward.
I loved this song/carol when I first heard the Steeleye Span version (a great band - get their best-of CD for some wonderful English folk music). The words are particularly moving (see bottom clip for English translation) and encapsulate all that Catholics have held dear about Christmas for 2000 years.
Funnily enough I came across a protestant site all about Carols (sorry I don't recall its name) and it said that Catholics frowned upon Carols, keeping them outside the Church, so that they only became popular in later years.
What rot! As this moving Christmas Carol testifies. It is true that the Mass was virtually unchanged throughout the Medieval period - codified in the Council of Trent to stay absolutely unchanged until the New Mass post Vatican 2; but the idea that Catholics did not celebrate Christmas ignores the fact that the Mass was the central part of spiritual life for Catholics, but there was much else celebrated too, especially on Feast/Holy Days and especially at Easter and Christmas.
Such airbrushing of history to make Catholics seem like cheerless automatons is typical of such sites - ignoring the fact that it was the protestants themselves who ripped apart our beloved Liturgical year, banning Christmas, banning Holy Days, stopping pilgrimage, and so much more to overturn the Catholic Traditions which were the very lifeblood of Europe.
As Belloc said, Europe is the Faith, the Faith is Europe - so in celebrating Advent, Gaudete Sunday and Christmas itself we in Wales, and our fellow Catholics in England, Ireland and Scotland are remaining very much part of a European and Catholic Tradition that centuries of penal laws and enforced protestantism has not been able to destroy.
So this Sunday go to Mass, pray the Rosary and raise a glass! Let us celebrate our Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith and the coming birth of the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ.
The following has terrible sound quality but is handy for its English translation of the Latin:
Catholic Encyclopedia on Gaudete Sunday