THE FAMILY ZONE
Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 75/ 12.12.21
What Does Your Nativity Look Like?
St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene. In his day, which was the 13th century, he was already worried that the emphasis was being placed on material things instead of the Birth of Christ! His nativity scene was what we call a "living manger." It was in a cave with live animals and people. Soon, people started created nativity scenes with statues instead of the live participants, so that they could be enjoyed in Christian churches and homes. Today, nativity scenes come in many many varieties and can be elaborate or very simple. They reflect the area of the world from which they come and they continue to give us a reason to be reminded of the true gift of Christmas! Spend some time this week with your family, in front of your nativity. This issue of The Family Zone explores the Nativity and how it is reenacted in today's faith communities! We've also added a link to a free resource from McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame! It's a Nativity Coloring Kit to download, print, color and decorate with this season!
LIVE THE EUCHARIST
Join us as we prepare for the Eucharistic Revival in the United States!
St. Luke makes strong connections between the Eucharist and the Christmas Story in the Gospel of Luke. Read this article from Catholic Spirit to learn more about the careful use of images Luke used to help us understand the significance of Jesus Christ.
Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday's 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 rose button below.
Family Stories: Story Time with a Positive Message.
- Goodnight Manger by Laura Sassi
- The Child in the Manger by Liesbet Slegers
- The Nativity by Ruth Sanderson
- The Cobweb Curtain: A Christmas Story by Jenny Koralek
- The Nativity by Marion Thomas
Parenting Articles: Various Nativity Traditions for your family! https://outdoornativitystore.com/blog/placing-christ-child-magi-nativity-scenes/
Traditions to engage your child in the Christmas story: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/baby-jesus/
- Do you wonder what Mary and Joseph were talking about in the manger? What do you think the shepherds said as they approached? How did Mary and Joseph react to the Three Kings? Write a dialogue for the Nativity scene and create your own Christmas pageant to act out for your family!
- Download the worksheets below based around the nativity to continue the learning for different age levels!
- Older children: Write a persuasive paragraph about why everyone should focus on the true meaning of Christmas!
Listen to the secular song: "Take a Walk Through Bethlehem." The message is about the mixed messages we hear at Christmas between between the true meaning of the day, and the hustling, bustling commercial Christmas. As you listen, or in some quiet prayer time after, imagine what you would be experience on your walk through Bethlehem. What would you see as you approached the infant among the animals and his weary parents? How would you feel? Sometimes a little bit of prayerful imagination can help us to place ourselves within the nativity; exactly where we should hope to be, at Christmas!
Use materials around your home to create your own Nativity scene. Send pictures of your creation to email@example.com
to be featured on our social media! Follow our Pinterest board of nativity scenes to get ideas!
Here we share ideas for personal prayer, family prayer and learning more about the ACT of prayer as a discipleship skill! Take some time away from holiday preparations to pray the Rosary, reflecting on the journey that brought Christ into the world. This beautiful prayer from Catholic Relief Services allows us to turn our attention to Mary and Joseph, and all families who struggle to find a safe home.
Play a "Gifts of the Magi" game with your family. One person will go to get three "gifts" around the house while the other player(s) are blindfolded. The gifts will be presented to those who are blindfolded and they can use all of their senses (except sight) to figure out what they are!
The holidays can be filled with joy but they can also be a time of immense stress and sadness for some. Here are some tips from NAMI if you, or someone you know, struggles during the season.
Word of the Week!
MESSIAH: A savior or liberator of a group of people. Messiah is an Old Testament Hebrew word meaning "Anointed One." Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah and fulfills the Judaic expectations of a king from the Davidic (from King David) line which is why we hear about Jesus' lineage and the census in the Gospels!
As you are setting up Christmas Decorations in your home, take the opportunity to talk to your child about the symbolism behind it! Do they know why you have an angel as your treetop? It's because the angels proclaimed the birth of Jesus to the world! Do you set your nativity under the tree with a star at the top of your tree? That symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that shown high in the sky for all to see! Have you left the baby Jesus out of the manger for now? That is because we wait until Christmas Day and give the birth of Jesus special and worthy significance in our celebration!
Engage your child in the Christmas Story by Helping Him or Her to Think About These Questions:
- What do you think it might have felt like in the manger where Jesus was born? What did it look like, smell like? Was it hot or cold? What would you do if you stayed in a barn with animals overnight?
- How do you think Mary and Joseph felt when they were turned away by the innkeeper?
- Some nativity scenes that people put out have all kinds of characters in them. Does anyone or anything, belong in your nativity scene that isn't there? Why?
Events Around the Diocese Open To All
Catholic Conversations January 15
Office of Evangelization and Catechesis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester
Debtor in Possession
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