We live in a society where people will get up at four o’clock in the morning for an After-Thanksgiving Sale, but claim they cannot get up in time for noon Mass on a Sunday. Society values the material rather than the spiritual. How then, do we convey the meaning of Christmas to our students?
It is sometimes overlooked that Christmas was a joyful occasion not because our Savior was born, but that He was born to sacrifice Himself for the salvation of mankind. He gave the ultimate gift. He gave us Himself.
In order to catechize our students we must find ways to bring this truth home to their hearts. It is not just about giving, but giving completely. The Christmas story cannot and should not be told without a reminder of the sacrifice.
We can educate these precious ones that the total gift of self is the best gift we can give.
So we are back to the question; What to give? In our classrooms we can answer this question in a way that will encourage devotion among our students, while helping them conquer their Christmas gift-giving lists.
Creating spiritual bouquets can be fun, creative and a wonderful way to increase the faith in our youngsters.
Make it Real
To begin this gift, cut out construction paper flowers and glue them to wooden popsicle sticks. Have the students write the name of a prayer or sacrifice on each flower. Some ideas: a Rosary, sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Hail Mary, giving up sweets for a day, etc.
Pray the Gift
In order for the bouquet to mean something, the prayers and sacrifices must be fulfilled. Have the class tell you what they have written and pray those prayers as a classroom (for the intentions of the gift receiver).
Give the Gift
While these bouquets make wonderful gifts for parents, grandparents and siblings, why not cheer our students on to give this gift to someone that may need it more than a family member? Push them a little outside of their comfort zones to extend their prayers to people they don’t like, don’t know or people who have shown them a kindness. Christ has explained that it is easy to love our friends, but the challenge is in loving our enemies. Using this gift to inspire love, forgiveness or thanksgiving to another will inspire the true meaning of Christmas.