Babies Are Game Changers. The Christ Child Is No Exception!

When we think of Jesus coming into our world as a baby, we can easily be lulled into lovely, peaceful images of cuddly babies sleeping in heavenly peace. The truth is, babies are “game changers!” The dictionary defines a game changer as “an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.” Having a baby is a game changer. You know this if you are […]

Celebrating the Christmas Season at Home

The Christmas season—which begins on December 25 with Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord—offers many opportunities to celebrate Jesus’ Incarnation. Here are a few ways to celebrate Christmas that will bring you closer to Jesus and to the ones you love. Prepare During Advent. The time spent preparing for the coming of Christ during December will affect our experience of Christmas when it finally arrives. Attend Mass and a meal with family […]

Christmas Bible Story Booklet

To help you share the Christmas story with children, we’re happy to share a Christmas Bible story booklet with you. The text of the booklet is from the Loyola Kids Book of Bible Stories by popular Catholic children’s author Amy Welborn. Print out the booklet and share with your class in a session on the birth of Jesus, or send copies home for families to enjoy together. Use copies as Christmas cards to your students, […]

The Boy in the Back of a Nativity Painting

Long-time catechists may find themselves going back to the tried-and-true activities that they’ve used before with predictable outcomes. But sometimes breaking out of that cycle can be a good thing. For a number of years, I would print out artwork that depicted the Nativity. I had 15–20 images from various artists. The first-grade children and I would sit in a circle on the floor, and I would show the images to the class and then […]

Epiphany: God Does All the Work

This Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany—that day when Jesus Christ was revealed to the world as represented by the Magi. In the Eastern Tradition, the epiphany or theophany (revelation) to the Magi is seen as one of four “manifestations” of Jesus to the world: the Nativity, the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus, and the Wedding Feast at Cana. In all four of these manifestations, Jesus’ identity and mission are revealed to a […]

Leading Others to Epiphany

Soon we will celebrate the wonderful Feast of the Epiphany, when Jesus is revealed to all the nations as the Son of God. This feast contains so many messages and images that are apropos for catechists. Here are a few. The Magi do not travel alone. Although they are from different locations, the Magi come together to seek the king. We catechists recognize the wisdom in this. We do not travel alone. We are part of a […]

Five Christmas Activities for Your Class

Although many of us take a break from classes during Christmastime, if you’re looking for some activities to celebrate Christmas and Epiphany, here are a few ideas. These are courtesy the Finding God Activity Finder. Hope for the World Young people will reflect on the human condition and how Jesus’ birth brought hope to the world. Shepherds with Candy-Cane Crooks Children will be able to identify the shepherds as the first people to welcome Jesus. […]

The Vocabulary of Christmas

In one of my first years of teaching, one of the parish priests visited my fourth-grade classroom in December. He asked how many of the children’s families had displayed a crèche as part of their holiday decorations. None of the children said yes, which disappointed the priest, who left to visit another class. As soon as he left, one of the children asked me, “What’s a crèche?” I asked if others had the same question […]

Christmas and Catholic Identity

The celebration of Christmas is unabashedly Catholic. I describe Catholic identity as being characterized by five traits: a sense of sacramentality a commitment to community a deep respect for the dignity of human life, leading to a commitment to social justice a reverence for tradition a disposition to faith and hope and not despair These five characteristics are integral to the Christmas story, and Christmas can help us to strengthen our Catholic identity. I offer […]

The Reason for the Season: Teaching a Spirituality of Christmas Time

It can be difficult to see Christ in the way most families celebrate Christmas. Weeks of seeing Santa everywhere, festive decorations, and parties are followed by just a single day of feasting and opening presents. Christmas seems to end as soon as it started. Christmas trees and Christmas music disappear as people rush to post-holiday sales. Even though God became one of us and shared completely in our humanity, we often act as if that […]

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