When you think of the weeks leading up to Christmas, you probably think of the shopping, the holiday music… and Christmas cookies! But it’s also a time to prepare for Christ’s coming and then celebrate it with great joy. Here are three simple ways you can make the holiday season more meaningful around your house. And the best part is, you don’t have to go out and buy anything!
Go easy on the Christmas music
It’s hard to keep the Christmas music at bay this time of year. Just walk out of your house and you hear it everywhere! Now don’t get us wrong, we love Christmas music — but too much of it can distract us from the true meaning of the season. Fortunately, the Catholic Church has a treasury of Advent and Christmas hymns you can listen to.
Music has a powerful influence on the way we think and even pray. Listen to the Church’s hymns and carols to stay prayerful during this hectic season. (Plus, it saves you from getting sick of the secular songs by the time Christmas actually gets here.) The CD included in your box is a good place to start. You can also look up Advent and Christmas hymns on digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music.
Pray the O Antiphons
You may not have heard of the “O Antiphons,” but we bet they will ring a bell when you hear the words. That’s because they’re the basis for the song “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” Each verse of this song is based on one of the O Antiphons.
The O Antiphons are verses of prayer that priests, deacons, and consecrated religious recite during the eight days leading up to Christmas Eve. And you can too! They’re called the “O Antiphons” because they begin with an invocation of Christ using “O” — for example, “O Key of David” and “O King of All Nations.”
The People of God had to wait thousands of years until the coming of the Messiah. These antiphons express that longing using imagery from the Old Testament. Each day from December 17-23, recite one in the evening with your prayer before dinner, or at night before you go to bed. It’s a great way to prepare your heart for Christmas.
Recreate the Wise Men’s journey
Put a fun twist on your Nativity scene this year. When you set up all the figures, place the Wise Men in another part of the room, or in a separate room. Then, every day from Christmas until Epiphany, move the Wise Men closer and closer to the Nativity scene. If you have little kids, you can make it fun for them. Don’t let them see you move the figures across the room (or across the house), so it really looks like the Wise Men are traveling to see the infant Jesus. Just make sure they get there by Epiphany!
We hope these ideas will help you make your Advent and Christmas extra special this year. Have a blessed December, and see you next month!