Here we are in the season of Advent. From the smallest to the tallest, all of the children learn that this is the time when we prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of the anniversary of our Lord’s birth. Each Monday, we all gather first thing in the morning to pray together and light the Advent Wreath. As the children head back to their classrooms, all of them lift their voices in unison as they sing a hymn of praise. I get a lump in my throat as I hear the melodies echoing down the hall.
As the anticipation builds, the energy is palpable! It seems as though each day offers something special, outside of the ordinary, for the children. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated with PJ’s and candy canes, a special Mass is held for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, ginger bread houses are assembled, parties are plenty, and the children sing and dance their way through the Christmas Play. Most importantly, the children are reminded each and every day of something extraordinary – the reason for the Christmas season…
He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2: 5-14
And so, here is our Christmas wish for you…that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of trimming trees, baking cookies, mailing cards, waiting in lines, and wrapping packages, we pray that your hearts will be filled with the joy and peace of the true meaning of Christmas!