O Holy Night
Emphasizing the Sacred at Christmas
During this beautiful, but busy, holiday season, and
especially in the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
themselves, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that what we are celebrating is
the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We become so involved with
family activities, planning the perfect meal, purchasing and wrapping gifts for
our loved ones and entertaining guests.
We asked our participants at
Catholic Mom to share their ideas on how to keep the celebration of Christmas
sacred, holy and with an emphasis on things spiritual. The following are
their wonderful ideas.
The Advent tradition of creating a Jesse Tree comes from the verses in Isaiah
and Matthew that speak of Jesse, the father of King David. On each branch hangs
a picture of some of the forty-two generations of Jesusí ancestors from both the
Old and New Testaments. The pictures of the Holy Family are often placed at the
top. This kit offers two options designed to make the Jesse Tree project
accessible to any family, class or parish. Option 1: Prepare an
actual tree with designs from do-it-yourself three-dimensional ornaments.
Option 2: A Jesse Tree Poster
with pre-drawn ornaments to be colored and attached. This three-piece kit also
includes a short history of the Jesse Tree, suggested Scripture verses for each
ornament, and a Jesse Tree prayer service.
Click here for more information
Every year, we set up our
"window lights"....on Dec. 1 (or 1st Sunday of Advent) we light one candle in
one window....each week we add a window (just so happens we have 4 windows in
the front of the house.) Then on Christmas eve, we will finally join the rest of
the neighborhood and turn on all our lights.
Here's another family Advent tradition for those with little
ones. Build a simple (think popsicle stick) "crib". Get a large bag of cotton
balls. Each evening, reflect on the day with your little ones and see if they
had a good behavior day. If so, they get to add a cotton ball to the crib, and
make it a little softer for Baby Jesus. (Sometimes it helps with the daytime
behavior if you remind them during the day that unless they shape up, they won't
get to put in a cotton ball that night.) Then on Christmas, you can put Baby
Jesus in the soft crib that they helped to make.
shared by Marabelle2
A tradition that I like
comes from Eastern Europe. Every Christmas Eve, Christmas Day evening and New
Year's Eve my family did the following:
1) Take a pan and put a bit of burning cinder from the Christmas tree in it.
[burn a branch of the tree and let it smolder.](incense)
2) Take a branch of the christmas tree and dip it in holy water scattering it
3) Do 1 and 2 while praying the rosary and entering every room in the house.
In this way you bless the house for Christmas and the New Year!
submitted by Ash
My mom and dad also had
us sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we opened the presents--and a Hail Mary,
too. Some of my favorite Christmas pictures are of all us kids, our faces
shining with anticipation (the tree and packages are just over our shoulders,
after all), our hands folded, our rumpled robes, the girl's pin curls, in front
of our rather shabby manger.
We do that here. In addition, as I said before, Delia picks one of her dolls to
honor as the Christ Child and all through Advent she adds "straw" for good deeds
to the "manger" (a clemetine box; her choice!). On Christmas
morning, we find the baby wrapped in Brightly colored tissue paper (usually
royal purple, but whatever's still left over LOL), with a gold halo from gold
wrapping paper. The dolls are transformed by this. She has told me that she
thinks St. Nick/Santa dresses the baby to honor Jesus. That's as good an
explanation as I can come up with. There is always one gift tucked near this
manger; this year it will be Tomie dePaola's
The Night of Las Posadas. The Christ Child leaves a note talking about her
growth over the past year and hopes for the next.
We also always make "potato Stars" for Christmas breakfast or brunch, for after
Mass. She loves this use for leftover mashed potatoes. (add flour to mashed
potatoes, and then fry in a little butter. We use cookie cutter stars for the
season; shamrocks on St. Patrick's day, etc.)
submitted by Mary
addition to mass, of course, we always make a special birthday cake for Jesus.
We put a candle on & sing "Happy Birthday" and everything. Also, we always read
from the bible the story of Christmas. It helps us to make sure Maggie knows
what Christmas is really about.
submitted by Lori
of traditions that we as a family have enjoyed...the first is that when we awake
on Christmas morning, the first thing that my daughter does as we all gather
around the nativity is put the baby Jesus in his crib. As she does this, we all
say together, Happy Birthday, Jesus. Then we all hold hands and each of us
individually tells Jesus why we are thankful that we know him. It is a very
special time with my children--truly a blessing to hear those little voices
telling Jesus how much they love him--I am getting tears in my eyes just
thinking about it.
The second one is that as we open our gifts, we each have to say why we are
thankful for the person who has given us the gift. It really teaches the
children about the spirit of giving and being appreciative of the people in our
This is a great topic--it helps us think about those little things we do as
families year after year that just become a habit. I have remembered now just
how much I love these things and cherish this time with my family--Thanks for
thinking of it.
submitted by Michele