As members of the Catholic Faith, we should all be excited for Christmas Day not because of the parties, delicious food and merrymaking but because of the spiritual meaning behind this holiday. This once-a-year occasion reminds us of Jesus Christ’s birth, an extraordinary event that shows us just how much God loves us.
Many families gather together on Christmas day to celebrate and spend time with one another. Here are 5 ideas on how you and your family can make your get-together more meaningful. Let us look at some beautiful Catholic traditions:
Reflect on the Christmas Story
Christmas Season is a busy time and it’s easy for us to get lost in holiday shopping sprees and preparations for parties and forget what the occasion truly means. Christmas is all about the magnificent gift that God sent for humankind which is His own son, Jesus Christ.
On Christmas Day, we remember how thousands of years ago, Jesus was born as a human child. The birth of Christ marked the beginning of His journey to redeem us from sin and prepare us for a life in eternity with our Heavenly Father.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
One of the simplest things we can do to put the true meaning of Christmas at the center of all our activities is to read and reflect upon the original Christmas Story in the Bible. Set aside ample time in your Christmas gatherings to go over the Biblical story of Jesus’ birth. Ask family members to share their thoughts and realizations after reading the story.
Decorate with Christian Symbols
Many of us decorate our homes to make it more festive for the holidays and this practice is a great time for the family to work together and bond. We can put a more meaningful twist on this popular tradition by using Christian symbols.
Ask the family to help you in setting up a Nativity scene in your living room or if you have bigger ornaments and sculptures you can set it up in the lawn so others can see the display.
Another well-loved Christmas decoration is the Christmas tree and you can hang Christian imagery like crosses, doves and the ichthus symbol on the branches. If children are helping out, use this as a time to explain the meaning of these symbols.
Give Religious Gifts to Loved Ones
Gift-giving is another common tradition during Christmas time and this opens a wonderful opportunity for us to share our faith through presents. Consider giving Christian devotional books to friends and family to help them grow in their spiritual journey. These books often come with a journal section where they can write their reflections.
Religious jewelry like four-way medals is another great gift idea and these can serve as a means to remind the wearer about their devotion to God. Give younger family members coloring books based on Bible stories to help encourage them to read the Bible.
Attend Mass as a Family
The Church is a congregation of Christ’s family and what better way to celebrate Christmas than with our spiritual family? Going to church lets us hear God’s Word which is necessary nourishment for our souls. Mass also unites us with other followers of Christ and reminds us that we are not alone in our journey here on earth. There are others who share our struggles and, more important, we can help one another grow in our faith.
Make sure to include mass in your activities during the holidays. This activity is another great way for us to recall and reflect what Christmas truly is about.
Do Volunteer Work
Christmas reminds us of how Jesus Christ came to earth not with the privileges of being divine but as a humble servant of humankind. Doing volunteer work during Christmas is a simple way for us follow Jesus’ footsteps and experience His mission to help others. You can do this activity on your own or invite your loved ones to join you. Set aside a few hours every weekend to help out at a local shelter, soup kitchen or a charity foundation.
Ask God to reveal what organization is best suited for your advocacy and skills by praying for guidance. Contact the group that you are interested in and ask how you can help out and the schedules they have available.
Points for Reflection:
To put Christ at the center of all our Christmas celebrations and activities, here are some questions you can reflect on:
- Will my holiday activities bring me closer to God or will they distract me from the spiritual meaning of this occasion?
- Will my activities help me become a better and more faithful follower of Christ beyond the holiday season?
- Will the Christmas gifts I give strengthen my loved ones’ faith?
- How can I make family gatherings during the holidays more conducive to spiritual discussions?
What is your favorite thing to do during Christmas Day? How do you plan to spend the holidays this year?