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Lesson Notes: Christmas Activity Packet

December 20, 2014

ChristmasThe feast of Christmas officially continues until Epiphany and the liturgical season is celebrated until the Baptism of the Lord (this year on January 11).  In addition, many families continue the tradition of celebrating Christmas until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2.  No matter how you figure it, Christmas is a celebration that extends beyond December 25th!   There are many fun and meaningful options to help you extend your celebration in the Activity Packet and we hope you’ll choose a few that work for your family.

Advent Week 4 – Prayer and reflection for busy households

December 20, 2014

From the Catholic Spirit:

The following Advent wreath prayer is intended to help busy households make Advent a prayerful time during the rush of Christmas preparations. The language is fairly simple, intended to be used for personal prayer and reflection or by groups of adults or adults with children. Options are noted to allow for participation by a variety of members of a household.

Leader: The fourth and final week of Advent begins today. As we near Christmas, we spend this moment in prayer so that we are better prepared to welcome the Christ Child into our hearts and into our lives.

Light all four candles on the Advent wreath.
Read aloud 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38. (A different person might read each passage.)
Leader: When we think that we are in charge and in control, that’s when we need to remember it is God who has provided everything we have and made us everything we are.

This fourth week of Advent, the reading from 2 Samuel leaves us asking: “Do I have a dwelling place for the Lord in my heart?” This week, let’s ask ourselves, “Are our hearts a fitting place for the Christ Child to rest his head?”

Closing prayer: (Leader may read all, or others in the household may each read a segment.)

Father in heaven, help us to remember that all our gifts come from you. When we think we are in charge, remind us that we are your people and that you are our God. And let us have no gods — not wealth, not power, not fame, not material things — before you.

God above, as you found favor in the Virgin Mary, help us live so that you find favor in our lives. Help us to be holy.

Help us, Lord, to follow Mary’s example of faith and trust. Along with Mary, help us, too, to say: “Yes, God, I am yours. Do with me as you want. Make me your hands on earth.”

Holy Spirit, inspire us to live every day as if Christmas were just a week away.

O Key of David

December 20, 2014

key of david

O Clavis David: O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom. Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open. (22:22), and His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from Davids throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. (9:6).

Explanation and credit for text and images here.

The best gift of all!

December 19, 2014

Just one more reason why you should take your family to Adoration sometime this Christmas season:

Took [my son] to adoration tonight… I am not even sure what to say about him. His range of emotion and depth of thought blow my mind sometimes. I asked him what he thought as we drove home. He said, “I felt like I stepped into heaven and threw myself into Jesus’ arms.” He’s five.

O Root of Jesse

December 19, 2014

jesse

O Radix Jesse: O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. Isaiah had prophesied, But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious. (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in Davids city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

Explanation and credit for text and images here.

O Lord

December 18, 2014

Lord

O Adonai: O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Isaiah had prophesied, But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the lands afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. (11:4-5); and Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us. (33:22).

Explanation and credit for text and images here.

The O Antiphons: O Wisdom

December 17, 2014

The O Antiphons refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The importance of O Antiphons is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.

First some definitions:

Antiphon: A short verse from a psalm or other, usually biblical, source, sung or recited before or after a psalm or between verses.  (The most familiar example is probably the responsorial psalm that is part of each Mass.)

Liturgy of the Hours: The official cycle of the Church’s daily prayer, also known as the Divine Office.  It consists of hymns, antiphons, psalms, selections from Sacred Scripture, readings from the Church Fathers, commentaries on the Scriptures and the Christian life, writings of the saints, and standard Catholic prayers.  Priests and religious are obligated to observe this cycle of prayer, and all the faithful are invited to join.  It can be prayed publicly or privately.  You can find information and the prayers online here.  Click on General Instructions or Breviary Bootcamp to get started.

Vespers: The evening service of the Divine Office, also known as Evening Prayer.

Octave: Latin for eight.  The practice of celebrating a major feast on the day itself and then for seven days following.  In this usage, it is an octave of preparation for the great celebration of the Nativity of Christ!

 

wisdom

O Sapientia: O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation. Isaiah had prophesied, The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (11:2-3), and Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom. (28:29).

 

Many thanks to the Catholic Dictionary for the definitions, to Fr. William Saunders for the explanation and to Michelle Quigley for the images.
You can find more great prayer resources here, and coloring pages for each day here.

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