Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Catholic 12 Days Of Christmas~(Days 1-4)

(I know this is kind of a goofy picture but I guess we're just dorks that way:)

On the 12 days of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
A plan for our family!
My husband and I sat down together this year to make a family plan for celebrating the 12 days of Christmas. (We decided to go beyond the Octave, or eight days, of Christmas and "go for the gusto"...all 12 "plus some" to include the Epiphany proper:)  Either way, it was fun to share our goals to keep our Catholic faith burning and churning through the rhythm of the liturgical wheel, into the New Year. I thought we'd share what we have planned so far!  [Please note...This year,(2011) the Christmas season "officially" lasts 16 days plus an evening.  If you want to get the low-down, The National Catholic Register has a great article to explain the count!]
We incorporated family reflection or discussion topics with ways to respond and an evening prayer as we light our white Christ candle in the center of our Advent wreath.
DAY 1: (December 25th)
It's Christmas Day~Rejoice!
Read and reflect upon God as love coming as a baby, a Messiah, a promise to His people. God loves us so much that he wants us to be happy with Him forever; knowing, loving and serving Him.
Respond: We express our charity by placing baby Jesus in the manger, exchanging gifts, and celebrating Christ's birth.
"When are we most happy? When we do that for which we are made"~Archbishop Fulton Sheen~
Pray: We pray for all of our family and friends to know God's love.

DAY 2: (December 26th)
It's the Feast of St. Stephen, the church's first martyr.
Read and reflect  (Acts 6 and 7) on St. Stephen.  Being one of the church's first deacons, ordained by Jesus himself, Stephen was given the task of helping care for the poor.  It was fun to discuss the story of King Winceslas and his connection to the Feast of St. Stephen and the Christmas Carol:)
~Resources for our reading and prayer~
Respond: As we clean spaces and make room from gifts and new toys received, spend time this day gathering toys and clothes for a local shelter. We gathered a loot and still working on more to take to our local shelter on Thursday!
Pray for those who are persecuted in other parts of the world, for those physically and spiritually poor, and for those who care for them.
DAY 3: (December 27th)
Feast of John the Apostle & Evangelist
Read and reflect on St. John through the Gospel and letters attributed to him.  The more we read the Bible, the more it becomes a part of our way of thinking and living.  St. John's message is the central them of the teachings of Christ: "Love one another."
Respond:  As an act of love, gather up all of our Christmas cards and place them in a basket. Choose one at random each evening to read at dinnertime. Explain how we know them and how they have blessed our lives.  This feast day is also a day of reconciliation.  In 1983, it was the day that Pope John Paul II reconciled with the man who tried to assassinate him.  Resolve to take an opportunity during these Christmas days to reach out to an estranged family member or friend, even if it's just sending an e-mail.  If there is no reconciliations to be made there are always reconnections to strive for!  I have a list of people who I need to reconnect with:)
Pray for all of those in our basket...One of the children thought of putting together a litany prayer with all of the names of people who sent us Christmas cards...great idea!  We'll see how it goes:) We will also pray for the intercession of St. John for reconciliations and forgiveness. 
"Bridge building is costly, as the Cross demonstrates, but the people stranded on both banks are all freed by the bridge."-Magnificat 10/6-

DAY 4: (December 28th)
Feast of the Holy Innocents
Read and reflect upon the Holy Innocents (Gospel of Matthew and Saints for Young Readers) when King Herod sent his soldiers to kill all male babies in Bethlehem under the age of two, in the hopes of killing the Messiah among them.  These little children are honored today by the Church as martyrs and are called the Holy Innocents.
Good Resource: Word on Fire
Respond: Make Baby Jesus Rolls!  I found this cute idea over at Catholic Missionary Family.
Pray for those who abuse and neglect children.  We can also ask the Holy Innocents to intercede our prayers for the protection of all children from harm and to change the hearts of those who promote abortion.
~We pray this list may be helpful to others...More days to come!~
Ideas adapted from this great article at U.S. Catholic

Daily Prayer for Christmastime
Lord Jesus, God from God,
Guide my every thought today.
Heaven and earth, rejoice!
Lord Jesus, my Redeemer,
Let my lips speak only your word.
Heaven and earth, rejoice!
Lord Jesus, my King,
Fill my deeds today with your love.
Heaven and earth, rejoice!


  1. I love this so much! There is so much content in blogs, this week, about: "After Christmas" and "The Day After", etc.... that it is wonderful to see a post from a kindred spirit! God Bless your family through Christmas, Epiphany, and beyond.

  2. This is so neat. I'm eagerly waiting for what you do the rest of the 12 days, because I would love to do something like this next year. Merry Christmas!

  3. I'm so impressed Tiffany! Making a plan to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas instead of just Christmas is a great idea! You and your husband are fun loving couple!!

  4. Tiffany, I just read all your posts on the Days of Christmas 1-8. Your plans and activities are marvelous. How did you think of all these reflections and meditations, and discussion questions. It is wonderful. I love your gingerbrad nativity set -- what a unique idea, and I've ever seen that done before!!! I'm going to go click on your links now, and those articles/blogs you recommended!! Happy New Year and many many blessings in the year ahead!


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