THE FAMILY ZONE

Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 102/12.25.22

BEHOLD! A CHILD IS BORN IN BETHLEHEM!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

MAY YOUR FAMILY ENJOY THE LOVE AND PEACE OF CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR, AND LORD!


Making Jesus Part of Your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration:



  • Attend Mass! Invite family and friends to join you!
  • Read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20)
  • Place the Baby Jesus in the manger and sing Happy Birthday to him
  • Place a lit candle in the window to signify that the light of Christ is present in the world
  • Before opening gifts, share a prayer of gratitude for the non-material gifts God has given to your family!
  • Tell the Christmas story with a simple lunch. Follow the link below for a great way to involve kids in the Infancy Narrative!

LIVE THE EUCHARIST

Have you ever seen the phrase: "The Eucharist is Christmas Prolonged?"**

It invites us to consider Bethlehem as any Catholic Church where Christ is present. When we talk about the Real Presence, we acknowledge that Jesus is present to us each time we receive the Body of Christ. Jesus didn't just reside in the world 2000 years ago. Jesus is PRESENT to us here and now; he loves US and desires to be with us. Consider ways in which you can be present to him this coming year and show that same love in return!

***From: therealpresence.org/archives

READ!

SUNDAY READINGS:

Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday Mass for the coming two weeks. This will give you a chance to prepare your heart and mind for full and active participation in Mass this weekend! For a Mass schedule in our diocese click on the red button below.


Sunday Readings: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010123.cfm

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/010823.cfm



Family Stories: Here are some stories about EPIPHANY and the MAGI:

We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin

They Followed a Bright Star by Joan Alavedra

Strega Nona's Gift by Tomie dePaola

WRITE!

There are many people who will not feel Christmas joy for a variety of reasons. Complete a special family Christmas service project by connecting with one of the writing volunteer opportunities below. Make a homemade card or share one of your family's Christmas cards (remember that the Christmas season is just getting started on Christmas Day!)...it will be a great way to spend some time thinking of others! Send a wish for the new year!


Send a card to a child in the hospital: https://sendasmile4kids.blogspot.com/

Reach out to a child in foster care: https://braidmission.org/cards-of-hope/

Send a letter to a soldier: https://www.operationgratitude.com/volunteer/anywhere/letters/

Write to a senior citizen: https://loveforourelders.org/letters

LISTEN!

Listen to the Christmas story read aloud!
The True Story Of Christmas: The Birth Of Jesus (Full Audiobook) *Grand Audiobooks
Spend some time with this classic Christmas tale by O Henry about sacrifice and giving. It's great inspiration for a family chat as we remember the Magi coming with gifts to the Baby Jesus.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (Full Audiobook) *Learn English Audiobooks

WATCH!

Epiphany/The Wise Men Bible story for kids read aloud
Mary - The Mother of God

JUST FOR FUN...A SWEET LITTLE FILM

https://youtu.be/O1C9zOQpKG4

CREATE!

New Year's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation, when we observe the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Most churches have a vigil Mass on New Year's Eve. Attend Mass and then enjoy an EARLY New Year's celebration with your kids by ushering in midnight in another country. Here are some family fun ideas that kick off your celebration with a connection to the Blessed Mother: (SEE ALL LINKS FOR THE MARIAN PRAYERS in the PRAY SECTION BELOW)



  1. At 6:00 PM, it is MIDNIGHT in Ukraine! We have been praying the Memorare, a prayer that seeks the Blessed Mother's intercession, for Peace in Ukraine. Pray it on New Year's Eve, for peace there and around the world. Then enjoy a feast of Deruny https://natashaskitchen.com/deruny-ukrainian-potato-pancakes-%D0%B4%D0%B5%D1%80%D1%83%D0%BD%D0%B8
  2. At 7:00 PM, it is MIDNIGHT in Rome! Say a prayer for the Holy Father, Pope Francis and Pray together a favorite Marian prayer of his: "Mary Undoer of Knots" and enjoy your favorite pasta or pizza! Children in Italy sometimes enjoy an unusual game called Tamburello. This would add to some New Year noisemaking fun! You will need tambourines and a balloon for indoor fun! Simply hit the balloon back and forth as in tennis, but use the tambourine as your paddle! (No tambourines? Be creative with something that could make noise!)
  3. At 8:00 PM, it is MIDNIGHT in Portugal! Celebrate by eating 12 raisins (a Portuguese tradition on New Year's Eve) and pray to Our Lady of Fatima (A Portuguese title for the Virgin Mary who appeared to children in Fatima, Portugal.) St. Jacinta, one of the children who witnessed the appearance of Our Lady was said to have loved flowers and make garlands of them for her cousins. Make some special garlands to celebrate the New Year, out of flowers, paper, or materials of your choice! You can also make this easy and tasty Portuguese dish for dinner!

PRAY!

Celebrate Our Mother Mary on January 1, with some Marian Prayers you may not know!

PLAY!

On the feast of Three Kings, hunt for the stars! Buy a pack of star stickers at a dollar store. Cut them up with backing still attached and hide them around the house! Connect the treasure hunt to the story of the Three Kings who followed a star to the Baby Jesus.

Continue the star-themed fun by bundling up and star-gazing on a dark winter's night!


Enjoy the Christmas game below by clicking on the PDF to download. You will need paper, something to draw with, and a pair of dice to play!

BE WELL!

RESOLVING to take better care of yourself... We all do it as the New Year rolls around. This year we will exercise more, eat less, snack healthier...etc., etc. Sometimes, our New Year's resolutions only last a few weeks. But, what if we take a different approach? What if the healthy ways in which we care for our bodies, minds, and souls are done for the glory of God? Corinthians says:

"do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, ²⁰for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Let's resolve to take better care of ourselves because life is a beautiful gift from God! What will your New Year's Resolution be?


Fr. Mike Schmitz recently made a video about the difference between working out and training. Check it out:

A Theology of Working Out

TEACHABLE MOMENT!

Doing the Right Thing: The Magi were sent to find the infant Jesus by a powerful and corrupt leader named King Herod. They were to let King Herod know the exact location of the baby Herod had been told was born the King of the Jews. After a warning appeared to them in a dream, the Magi, or Wise Men, decided not to return to Herod but to leave Bethlehem, instead, by a different route. For them, it was a matter of protecting the infant Jesus and his parents: Mary and Joseph. Returning to Herod would likely have been far more beneficial to the Magi, personally, but instead of acting selfishly, they acted to protect Jesus. As we celebrate Epiphany, it's a great time to talk about doing the right thing, even when we might not benefit from it personally or even suffer for it.

Gerard David, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

WORD OF THE WEEK!

ADORATION: The Magi came to ADORE Jesus. Adoration is a form of prayer. Adoration prayer signifies that God is God: Creator, Savior, Sanctifier, and Master of All. God is the source of all blessings and through Adoration prayer we acknowledge our total dependence on him. We can engage in Adoration prayer at Mass (the Gloria is a prayer of Adoration, for example), through Eucharistic Adoration, or simply through praising God for the many ways our lives are incredible because of him!

WONDER!

Here are some questions to get kids talking and thinking about the Wise Men.



  • Did the Wise Men understand what they would find when they set out to find the Baby Jesus?
  • How did they feel when they saw the baby in the middle of a barn? Were they skeptical?
  • What if the Wise Men hadn't listened to the dream warning?
  • Where did the Wise Men go when they left Bethlehem? Did Herod find them?
  • They brought Jesus presents. Have you ever been excited about giving somebody something? Were they excited to receive it? Were the Wise Men excited to give Jesus their treasures?
  • How did Mary and Joseph feel when they saw the Wise Men with the treasures for their baby?

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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