Four weeks of waiting have begun. It may never be easy to keep kids focused on Advent when the excitement over Christmas is so great, but we can try! Rich traditions come to us from all parts of the globe. Perhaps the children in your classrooms have a new one to share. One that is common to many cultures is that of the Christmas candle. Each country has their own legend behind it, but the association with Jesus as the Light of the World is a common theme. TCK is happy to share some Light of the World activities for your Advent preparations. May you be full of hope, peace, joy, and love this season.
December at a Glance (PDF)
Lighting Our Way to the Treasures of Christmas
Activity: Bread Dough Candleholder
Pre-made bread dough is just right for shaping candleholders according to Slavic traditions.
The Christmas Candle Tradition (PDF)
Grade 6 & Up
Activity: Jesus Light
This Christmas candle tradition from Ireland makes a great activity and history lesson.
The Christmas Candle (PDF)
Lifelong Catechesis Corner
First Sunday of Advent
A new church year has begun … am I reflecting Jesus's light?
Activities online at the Lifelong Catechesis page.
Catholic Stewardship for Kids
Holiday Service Project
Begin a holiday service project 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 others. 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.
Saint for December
St. Lucy (PDF)
The Incarnation of Christ
by Mary Lou Rosien
So often during this Advent Season, we focus on the birth of Christ alone, rather than the Incarnation of God in the Second Person of the Trinity. The birth of Jesus is beautiful, but it sometimes takes on a fairy tale quality in the retelling. Christmas cards show light streaming into a remarkably clean stable and everyone is glowing. We forget the birthplace of Jesus was probably dirty, smelly and cold. His Holy Mother, Mary and Foster-father, Joseph, may have been filled with uncertainty, maybe some fear, as well as, awe and wonder!
When we ponder, for a moment, what Christ actually did when He became human, it is nothing less than astonishing. He humbled Himself at birth, then again at death. He put on the skin of humanity and became one of us! What an amazing thing for our God, our King to do! Jesus quite literally, was born of the Virgin Mary and became man!
Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh,"(Jn 1:14) the Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.)
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, 461
I have heard a priest explain the mystery this way:
Imagine you are at a party where everyone is dressed in their finest clothing. I imagine the women went to have their nails done and hair styled. The men probably shaved, and got haircuts. Everyone looks gorgeous and smells even better.
In the corner of the room, there is an old dirty coat on the floor. It smells of urine and worse. It is so filthy, that no one will even stand near it.
The King enters the room in His royal clothing, he walks over to the filthy coat ...and he puts it on! This is similar to Christ putting on our very humanity to save us. He stepped down from the splendor of heaven to become one of us.
So when we look at the beautiful Christmas cards covered with images of the Nativity, this year let us be humbled by what Christ did, not only saving us by His death on the cross, but in joining Himself to us, in our humanity, by becoming man. Merry Christmas and God bless you.
Be with us, Lord, as we enter this waiting season of Advent.
We thank you for the many blessings in our lives and with anticipation, preparation and hope
we look forward to the arrival of your Son, Jesus, the light of the world. Amen.
Visit our Shop page to browse our complete collection of Advent resources!