Many questions tend to come up this time of year – especially when it comes to Catholic celebrations. What is Advent about? Why do Catholics have a special devotion to the Blessed Mother? Why do some equate St. Nicholas with Santa Claus? Read on for tips on how to introduce your children to some of the fundamental beliefs associated with the Christmas and Advent season!
Advent is the season of preparation prior to Christmas. It includes the four Sundays before Christmas and the month of December. The word “advent” translates as “coming,” which refers to the coming of Jesus Christ. Given that it’s such an important time for the church, traditions abound during this time of year! Here’s one blog that details a few Advent customs – from having a Jesse tree to celebrating Christkindl (or “Secret Santa”).
Mary, Mother of God
This link is a great resource for how to introduce kids to the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It includes tips such as listening to music about Mary or eating something white in her honor. The Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation Catholics celebrate every year on December 8th. On this day, we honor the belief that Mary was created without ever having had original sin.
St. Nicholas is a bishop who lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries in what is now modern-day Turkey. His feast day is December 6th. Christians remember him as a gift-giver and protector of children. As a result of his popularity, traditions from all over the world are still practiced to this day. Check out this website for lots of historical tidbits about St. Nicholas, including how he is related to Santa Claus! And for younger kids, you can find a coloring page here.