Reenacting the Nativity of Christ. Collecting clothes and food. Providing entertainment for orphans. Praying and lighting a candle with the family. These are all ways members of the Knights of Columbus promote Advent and the Keep Christ in Christmas program.
Keeping Christ in Christmas is an opportunity of reminding people that Christmas isn’t about the frenzied commercialization of the holiday, but rather it’s about spreading the light of Christ and the spirit of giving within the family, council, parish and community and the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Here are just some of the things Knights have done during the Christmas season:
A SANTA CLAUS PARTY FOR ORPHANS
At the turn of the 20th century, Knights in Baltimore hosted a Santa Claus Party for orphans, giving them not only entertainment for the evening, but also providing an opportunity for siblings to reunite after months of separation in different orphanages.
NATIONAL SANTA CLAUS ASSOCIATION
Past Supreme Knight James Flaherty served as president of the National Santa Claus Association, which took letters addressed to Santa Claus by children in need and gave them to people who could buy the children presents. The association popularized writing letters to St. Nick.
SPREAD THE LIGHT OF CHRIST
The Supreme Council in New Haven, Conn., along with Knights of Columbus councils around the world take part in annual Christmas tree and crèche lighting ceremonies to commemorate Jesus Christ’s birth.
‘KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS’ PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS (PSAs)
The Knights of Columbus have been producing PSAs since the 1980s, including this one from 2011, that have reached more than 60 million people through TV and radio broadcasts.
(Here is our latest radio PSA. Please share this with media in your area.)
‘KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS’ POSTER CONTESTS
In addition, Knights sponsor simple reenactments of the story of Christ’s birth through the “Journey to the Inn” tradition based on the “Posada,” a celebration that Franciscan missionaries developed in America with the goal of introducing the faith, as well as the “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest.
Here are some of the past entries:
Both initiatives spur children’s creativity and participation in the season, while bringing an understanding to the true, spiritual meaning of Christmas.
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS MUSEUM “CHRISTMAS IN EUROPE” EXHIBIT
From November 16, 2019 to February 2, 2020 the museum will exhibit more than 80 Nativity scenes or crèches, icons, and religious artworks representing 30 countries across Europe, including its signature 120-square-foot Neapolitan crèche.
In addition, the museum will host its annual Christmas Tree Festival, December 7, 2019 to February 2, 2020.
(Here’s how to visit the Knights of Columbus Museum)
BUILDING A BRIDGE BACK TO FAITH
Part of the Knights’ mission is to build a bridge back to faith within the local and global community through acts of charity. Here are some of charitable activities Knights are doing and have done around the Christmas season:
Father James B. Heary Council 7239 in Madison Heights, Mich., hosted five Christmas parties for people with intellectual disabilities and handed out more than 200 gifts to children, as well as coats.
Paul Council 5576 in Makati City, Philippines went Christmas caroling to raise funds in support of the council’s charity projects and activities within the church and community.
Christ the King Council 5004 in Groveland, Mass., donated $1,200 worth of infant-size winter coats and pajamas to the Pregnancy Care Center in Haverhill. The gifts were funded through various activities, including a Christmas wreath sale.
Our Lady of the Valley Council 6842in Green Valley, Ariz., collected over $6,000 and about 1,000 pounds of food for needy families to enjoy a Christmas meal in their own homes.
Christopher’s Council 10718in Hobe Sound, Fla., raised $550 for its charitable programs and more than $300 for Florida panhandle residents affected by Hurricane Michael through its annual Christmas breakfast.
Mary Queen of Peace Council 12072 in Mandeville, La., hosted a Christmas shopping event at Walmart for some 50 children in need. More than 25 council members and their wives presented the children with $100 vouchers, helped them shop and provided coffee, milk and donuts to their families.
Bishop Hill Council 5468 from Campbell River, British Columbia, donated nearly $97,000 worth in food and toys to needy families through their “Knights of Columbus Community Christmas Hamper” project.
For 17 years, St. Pius X Council 9976 in Billings, Mont., hold a Christmas tree sale with the profits being donated to 15 local charities. This year, they are projected to sell more than 1,000 trees.
Joseph Manyanet Council 5567 in Wheaton, Md., assembled Boxes of Joy, which are Christmas packages that will be delivered to children in developing countries by the international nonprofit Cross Catholic Outreach.
Several New Jersey Knights of Columbus councils sponsor the “Send a Hero Home for the Holidays,” where they cover the costs of military personnel to travel home for Christmas. Since the program’s inception in 2013, Knights have been able to send more than 500 active military home.
(Read the full ‘Send a Hero Home for the Holidays)
Such charity reveals the underlying truth: that faith with works is alive. It’s innate in every Knight to apply their faith, to put it into action. By selflessly donating their time and money to such humanitarian needs, the Knights show that Christ’s love is constant and that it is here to stay, even after the Christmas season.
Have a wonderful Advent.
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