Advent is here and with it the new liturgical year has begun. Soon we will arrive at Christmas Day and the mystery of the Incarnation -- the Son of God come down from heaven as baby Jesus in the manger. How are we to respond to this supreme gift?
By our own self-gift, of course. This is our common vocation and one in which children can share. Our activities this month include picture book recommendations to build on this theme. Use them as discussion starters for children to consider how they can give of themselves to God and others. It might be a homemade gift or it might be something less tangible like spending time together.
Dear God, may our gift giving this month be a sign of your great generosity and love for us.
Activity: Flowers of the Holy Night
Have you ever wondered how the poinsettia plant came to be associated with Christmas? The colorful parts of poinsettias are actually modified leaves; they surround the small yellow flowers. It is native to Mexico, where it is called La Flor de la Nochebuena -- Flower of the Holy Night (or Christmas Eve). Tomie dePaola wrote an illustrated version of The Legend of the Poinsettia your children might enjoy.
Download Flowers of the Holy Night (PDF).
Grades 6 and up
Activity: Homemade Gifts
Talk with kids about the spirit of gift giving at Christmas. How can they use their talents to show love to others? Try our easy homemade gift ideas or let kids execute their own ideas. Enhance your discussion with the book The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola.
Download Homemade Christmas Gifts (PDF).
Saint of the Month
December 6 -- St. Nicholas
Download St. Nicholas (PDF).
Try this holiday service project: Start with a collection of socks on St. Nicholas Day. Encourage families to send in new socks in child and adult sizes for the children to fill. Before filling the socks, put one sock inside the other. This will keep the pairs of socks together. Fill the socks with soaps, toothbrushes, wrapped candy, small toys, pens, prayer cards, printed Band-Aids, etc. After filling them, gather the top of the sock together and tie with a ribbon. Deliver to your local shelter.
Lifelong Catechesis Corner
What is one way that I can "prepare the way of the Lord?" Find all the Sunday readings with background here.