Keep Christ in Christmas - Action Steps
Keep the True Meaning of Christmas Present in Council Holiday Activities.
At Christmas we honor the birth of Jesus Christ. At times our Savior is forgotten in the commercialization of the season and the rush to get ready for holiday festivities. Each year the Knights of Columbus takes a leading role in reminding society that Christmas is first and foremost a holy day. One of the best ways to do this is participating in the Order’s “Keep Christ in Christmas” campaign. Here are some of the things councils and circles can do to promote the birth of Christ as the focus of the Christmas season.
There are three posters, “Check the List” (#4554), “Remember, it’s CHRISTmas,” (#4555) and “Keep Christ in Christmas,” (#2760) that promote the Order’s Keep Christ in Christmas program are currently available from the Supreme Council Supply Department. These posters should be offered to local parochial schools, religious education classes and all area Christian churches.
Sponsor a “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboard that depicts the Holy Family and the campaign’s slogan. Each year, councils and circles throughout the Order display thousands of these billboards.
Urge all members to display a nativity scene on their property or at their place of business if they can.
For pricing information and to order “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboards contact: The Art Department, telephone: (423) 653-2490.
Contact CHRIST IS CHRISTmas, PO Box 20716, Roanoke, VA for “Keep Christ in Christmas: mailing seals, Advent wreaths, Advent calendars, Advent wreath leaflets and a tri-fold indoor Nativity scene. Telephone 1-(800) 722-5032. Or www.christischristmas.com.
Sponsor a “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster or essay contest for students. Display winning posters in the church vestibule, school hallways or your council’s meeting place during the holidays. Essays could be read during Mass and at council-sponsored event or published in local newspapers.
Submit a “Keep Christ in Christmas” advertisement for publication in your parish bulletin or local newspaper. Print one in your council newsletter.
Plan at least one council-sponsored event during December for members and their families. This could be a food or clothing drive, the praying of the rosary or singing Christmas carols.
Resist the temptation, even when you’re in a rush or short of space, to abbreviate “Christmas” as “Xmas.” Reducing Christ to an “X” trivializes the message of the season.
The Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped
This holiday season give the gift of yourself within your council, community and family. Give these or similar presents of friendship, understanding, kindness, love and compassion:
Serve or prepare meals at a soup kitchen.
Bring presents to children or elderly people in the hospital.
Clean, repair and refurbish a church in a poor neighborhood.
Visit someone who’s shut-in.
Send a Christmas card to someone you have not seen or talked to in years.
Invite a friend or neighbor who will be alone to share your Christmas celebration.
Reconcile with a friend or relative with whom you have quarreled. Apologize if you were wrong.
Provide transportation to shelters for homeless people.
Wish people you meet a good day and a happy and holy Christmas.
Get the family together to clean out all the closets and dressers. Donate usable clothing, shoes, blankets and other items to a program for needy families.
Send care packages to military personnel stationed overseas.
Sing Christmas carols at nursing homes or hospitals.
Collect baby clothes, blankets, food, diapers or money and donate these items to an organization that helps needy people.
Supply car seats or cradles to underprivileged mothers.
Sponsor a drive for children to donate their old toys to youngsters.
Be a part of the holiday spirit by undertaking one or more of the items listed above and help make Christmas merry for someone else and yourself.
‘Light Up For Christ’
Each year on the first Tuesday of December Knights of Columbus will “Light Up For Christ.” Knights of Columbus units throughout the Order are invited to turn on a switch and light a nativity scene and/or Christmas tree at 8 p.m. (local time). Through this grassroots program, the joy of Christmas will shine from council and circle homes, parishes, private residences and public parks around the world.
Knights of Columbus units throughout the Order conduct blessing services and light Nativity scenes and/or Christmas trees as part of the program. Take the event a step further by adding activities such as caroling or a drive to collect gifts, clothing and food for a needy family. Here is a sample prayer service blessing that can be used as a guide by your council chaplain during your “Light Up For Christ” celebration:
We praise you for the light of creation; the sun, the moon and the stars of the night. We praise you for the light of Israel: the Law, the Prophets and the wisdom of the Scriptures. We praise you for Jesus Christ your Son, the true Light of the world, the Light which no darkness can overcome. He is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace who saved the world from darkness and brought humanity into the peace of everlasting Light. We praise you for Mary, who held your Son in her loving arms, and who was given to us as a Mother at the foot of the Cross. She is the New Eve, leading all her children into the Light of Joy who is her Son, Jesus. We praise you for the gift of faith, given to us at Baptism, which enlightens our minds to know and accept the Gospel of Truth and Life.
Lord, we ask that your blessing come down upon us (and those of our family who cannot be with us today) as we illumine this tree (this Nativity scene). (Illumine tree or Nativity scene) May the light that it gives fill our hearts with hope that you will free us from the darkness of sin, and deliver us into the light of your peace and happiness. May all who look at this tree (Nativity scene) come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. Grant that we may always walk as sons and daughters of the light, keeping the flame of Truth alive in our hearts, until we join you and the heavenly host in the Kingdom of everlasting Light.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
To assist your council in announcing this Knights of Columbus program, the Supreme Council Supply Department has made available a “Light Up For Christ” poster (#2757), which has been designed as a public invitation to attend your ceremony. Space has been provided for your council to personalize it with the date, time, place as well as an area for additional information.
Celebrate the Coming of Christ with Family Advent Wreaths
During the Advent season families should spend time together preparing for the approaching celebration of the birth of Christ. An Advent wreath can be a great focal point for family prayers and holiday celebrations.
An Advent wreath is a wreath of laurel, spruce or similar foliage with four candles that are lighted successively in the weeks of Advent to symbolize the light that the birth of Christ brought into the world. Traditionally three of the candles are purple, the color of kings and of penance. A rose-colored candle is used to mark the Third Sunday of Advent as a time to rejoice over the closeness of Christmas and the coming of Christ.
Each day your family should gather around the Advent wreath, generally before the evening meal. The proper number of candles are then lit and a prayer is said.
The blessing of the Advent wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent. The following prayer can be used:
Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
Leader: Let us pray. O God, by whose Word all things are sanctified, pour fourth Your blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Your abundant graces. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
The wreath would then be sprinkled with water. The daily candle lighting follows.
FIRST WEEK: The following prayer should be repeated each day during the first week. Before the prayer, the family’s youngest child lights the first purple candle.
Leader: Lord, rouse Your power, we pray, and come; that we may deserve by Your protection to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and by Your deliverance to be made free from them; You who are God, living and reigning with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.
The candle is allowed to burn during evening meals for the first week.
SECOND WEEK: The prayer that follows is to be repeated each day of the second week. Before the prayer, the oldest child lights the first and second purple candles.
Leader: Stir up our hearts, Lord, to make ready the paths of Your only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may become worthy to serve You with purified minds. You who are God, living and reigning.
The two candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the second week.
THIRD WEEK: The following prayer is to be repeated each day of the third week. Before the prayer, the mother lights the first two purple candles and the pink candle.
Leader: Lord, lend Your ear, we beg, to our prayers, and lighten the darkness of our minds with the grace of Your coming. You who are God, living and reigning.
The three candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the third week.
FOURTH WEEK: The prayer that follows may be repeated each day of the fourth week. Before the prayer, the father lights all four candles.
Leader: Lord, rouse Your power, we pray, and come; lend Your great strength to aid us; so that through the help of Your grace and by Your merciful forgiveness, the good which our sins obstruct may be quickly brought to us. You, who are God, living and reigning.
The four candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the fourth week.
After the fourth week, the penitential season of Advent is over and the time to rejoice is at hand. The Advent wreath is transformed into a Christmas wreath. Ribbon and candles are replaced with red ribbon and long red tapers (to be lighted at breakfast on Christmas morning) and, if desired, other festive decorations can be added.
Promote Advent wreaths through council bulletins as a means for families to mark their preparation for the coming celebration of Christ’s birth.
In addition to having an Advent wreath as part of your family’s Christmas celebration, create your own Advent calendar of actions that you and your family can take each day to bring you closer to Christ. Write the scheduled activities on a calendar that is prominently posted. These activities could include donating toys to a drive for needy children, bringing used clothing to a collection for homeless people, volunteering at a soup kitchen, reading a Christmas poem or story aloud, attending Mass together, or placing a crèche in your home.
Please share this information with families in your council, your parish and the community.
Christmas Public Service Announcements Available
Each year, the Supreme Council office coordinates the distribution of Knights of Columbus produced public service announcements (PSAs) as part of the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” is available. This PSA reminds viewers to make the time amid the hustle of the season to remember and celebrate the holiday’s religious nature.
Also available are radio PSAs titled “Need” “Getting or Giving” and “Merry What?”. To view or listen to the PSAs, click on the titles in the table below.
The Supreme Council forwards these PSAs to program directors of radio and television stations for use during the holiday season. PSAs are used most frequently by stations, however, when local councils make a personal appeal and deliver copies to station managers. The television PSA is available on DVD and in Beta format. Radio PSAs are available on compact disc (CD). Contact the stations in your area to inquire if they received the PSA in the general mailing. If the station hasn’t received one and is interested in using the program, contact the Department of Fraternal Services at (203) 752-4044 to order copies of the video or radio PSAs.
Consider contacting a local cable access station and producing a “Keep Christ in Christmas” program that features your council’s activities.
Contact your diocesan communications director about the availability of this PSA program and encourage usage of “Keep Christ in Christmas” items and public service announcements.
|Remember ... it's CHRISTmas||Television||DVD / Beta|
|Getting or Giving||Radio||CD|
Click on any of the radio titles above and then the play button to radio ads.