I’m participating in the KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS Blog Link-Up 2013, 
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When I was a child ‘Advent’ was just a word. It was always followed by ‘calendar’. I enjoyed opening all the little windows on my Advent calendar, revealing little pictures of Santa and bells and candy canes and piles of gifts under a tree. With excitement mounting, I counted down the number of ‘sleeps’ until Christmas Eve when I knew Santa would shoot down the chimney (unless his plump body got stuck), together with his enormous sack of presents.

When my first two children were very small, I wanted to make Christmas as magical and as special as my mother had made it for me. I thought carefully about presents, making some and buying others. I baked all kinds of goodies.  My husband Andy bought a real Christmas tree early in December, and we helped our children decorate it. We added their own special home-made ornaments, such as a one-of-a-kind toilet roll angel who was blessed with a purple and green coloured-in face. My little ones would get so excited. I would too. I thought of the delight in their eyes when they woke up on Christmas morning and saw the pile of presents I’d arranged for them. Yes, we counted down the sleeps before Christmas with great anticipation.

But although Christmas was always very special, I suspected something was missing. In quiet moments I wondered: Did Christmas mean more than shopping and eating and piles of gifts and being with loved ones on this one big day of the year? I knew it was about love, but was it also about Love?  I was aware some people had religious Christmases. They went to church on Christmas day. But I didn’t belong to that world. I didn’t have much idea of what those people believed or did. But I was envious without really understanding why.

Of course God was drawing me close to Him. He worked through the conversations and actions and prayers of my friends and Catholic family, and eventually I found my way to my true home, the Church. These days I understand better the true meaning of Advent. It's not just a word always followed by 'calendar'.

On Saturday morning Andy took our younger girls to the shopping centre. Mrs Claus was there with Frosty the Snowman. (I wonder what happened to Santa.) These dressed-up characters were having their photographs taken with slightly frightened children. The shops were decorated with tinsel and Christmas trees and fairy lights and baubles. Christmas carols and songs were playing, lulling shoppers into a ‘Christmas spirit’. Children were asking, “Can I have one of those?” and mothers were replying, “Ask Santa and if you’re good, he might bring it for you.” Greeting card racks were stocked with cards showing Santa and snow and trees and gifts.

There wasn't much evidence of Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas. I am tempted to complain: Is Christmas only about Santa and presents and silly Frosty the Snowmen? Why isn’t everyone keeping Christ in Christmas? What do people think Christmas is all about anyway? Christmas. Isn’t it obvious? Jesus, not Frosty.

But I stop before uttering a word. I think of my younger self. Did we mention Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas? No. Our Christmas was all about Santa and gifts and ... snow (which I find very funny and rather strange because we celebrate Christmas in summer!) But there was that hole deep inside me that couldn’t be filled with any amount of gifts or parties or treats, or even the love of family and friends.

And I wonder how many other people have a similar hole inside them? Maybe they aren’t even fully aware of it. They might be trying to push it from their minds, hoping to bury it under a flurry of activity: Christmas shopping for bigger and better presents, more partying, more cooking, more eating... But I bet it’s there.

I know I have no right to feel superior because of the way we celebrate Christmas. I can’t look down on those who are planning a Christmas without Christ. I only arrived here because God gave me a great gift. He drew me into the Church through the words and actions and love of others around me. And I am full of gratitude.

So what will our family be doing to keep Christ in Christmas this year? We'll be following our usual traditions of the Advent wreath, Jesse tree, nativity scene... and everything else I wrote about in my last post Advent Before Christmas.

But there's something else we'll be doing.

This morning I read these words… Bring Christ to othersThis Advent maybe God will use a conversation, a smile, an invitation, a kind word, a gift, a visit, an offer of help, a card, a Merry Christmas!… our love… to fill those holes deep within, to bring someone else closer to Him. 

So while we're whispering Come Lord Jesus Come! I hope we can watch out for ways to bring Christ to others. And I'm sure others will help bring us closer to God too. Don't you love how we are all connected together, helping each other?


I wonder if you celebrate Christmas in a similar way to when you were a child. Even if you have always kept Christ in Christmas, has your family developed traditions of your own? I'd love to hear your stories!


Other Keep Christ in Christmas blog post links...


Equipping Catholic Families: Keep Christ in Christmas
Coffee Moments with Sam     The Light of Hope
Faith Filled Freebies: Keep Christ in Christmas
Written by the Finger of God: Not Christmas as Usual
On the Way Home:  Keep Christ in Christmas
Sue Elvis Writes: Bring Christ to Others
 Mommy Bares All       Why Celebrate Christmas Even After #YolandaPH

Canadian Catholic Mom         Keeping The Little Ones Focused: An Advent Link-Up
Mountain of Grace Homeschooling   Keep Christ in Christmas
Home to 4 Kiddos        Keep Christ in Christmas
Embedded Faith          Boldly Be the Christ in Christmas
City Girl, Country Home         Emmanuel Is With Us. Are we WITH HIM?
 Journey to Wisdom: Trusting in your Awkward Fiats

Training Happy Hearts            10 Ways to Celebrate the New Liturgical Year
Designs by Birgit: Elf on a Shelf and Santa Claus
A Slice of Smith Life: How we keep Christ in Christmas
Catholic All Year: Three Reasons I love Advent
Mary the Defender: Christmas The Battle Begins
 Truly Rich Mom: Keep Christ in Christmas
Diapers and Drivel: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Raising Soldiers 4 Christ: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Campfires and Cleats How We Keep Christ in Christmas
Homeschooling With Joy        Keeping Christ in Christmas
Mrs Domestic Bliss     Gingerbread Nativity
The Chic Traveller      Keeping Christ in Christmas
California to Korea     Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk       Keeping Christ in Christmas
Our ABC Life     An Advent Update
Journey Living: Anno Domini
Life of Fortunate Chances: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Quidquid Est, Est!: Reblog: Advent Posts


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  1. "Bring Christ to others. This Advent maybe God will use a conversation, a smile, an invitation, a kind word, a gift, a visit, an offer of help, a card, a Merry Christmas!… our love… to fill those holes deep within, to bring someone else closer to Him" AMEN!!!!! Thank you for a wonderful reflection.
    Cyndi ( Embeddedfaith.org - another blogger from the Catholic Bloggers Link-up!)

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    1. Cyndi,

      Thank you for reading my post. After reading your own post I'm definitely going to watch out for opportunities to talk to others about Christmas. I liked your ideas!

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  2. As a kid, I did not know Christmas and Easter were religious holidays. I did not know who Jesus was. As an adult, I look back on those Christmases and, although they were fun, they do seem rather empty. I'm working to make our Christmases more about Christ and less about...whatever it is the world wants it to be. Mercantile?

    Great post! It resonated with me. Happy Sunday my friend!

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    1. Kathy,

      As a child I never imagined I'd end up where I am. God is so very good! We both have so much to be grateful for.

      God bless you, and thank you for visiting my blog!

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  3. Sue, I love the title of your post, and especially your sentence about God maybe using something we do or say this Christmas to bring Christ to someone. How wonderful that would be, if each of us could bring Christ to just one more person who is still celebrating those "empty" Christmases. That will be my prayer this Advent...that God will allow me to somehow bring Christ to someone else.

    Thank you for the links to all the wonderful articles above about keeping Christ in Christmas. I look forward to reading as many as possible.

    We are so blessed, aren't we? Of all the people in the whole world, God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, to permit us to know and love Him, to be blessed beyond measure with His Grace and all of the Sacraments and gifts of His Holy Church. How much we have to be thankful for!!!

    God bless you, dear Sue. May this Advent bring you closer than ever before to the Heart of our Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Love and prayers....

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    1. Patricia,

      Oh we are blessed indeed! I sometimes wonder how I ended up where I am. I certainly did nothing to merit this gift. It's amazing how powerful a friendly word, an invitation, an encouraging smile can be for those who thirst. When I was a breast feeding counsellor many many years ago, I remember there were a few Catholics in our local mothering group. I used to hang onto every word of those mothers' conversations. I wanted to belong! It was because of one of those mothers I eventually did the RCIA course and entered the Church.

      I was feeling just a little sad we've come to the end of the Year of Faith but now we have Advent! So many wonderful ways to increase our faith and move closer to God. Patricia, I pray this Advent is a very special time for you. Sending you my love and prayers too. God bless! xx

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  4. Oh I just love this post! What a wonderful thought! It's not just about keeping Christ in our own Christmas, we need to share Him with everyone!

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    1. Thank you! I'd already written a post about our own family's Advent activities and so for this post my thoughts moved past the immediate family circle. Yes, we can't keep this great Gift to ourselves. We must share with others!

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. God bless!

      Delete
  5. " This morning I read these words… Bring Christ to others. This Advent maybe God will use a conversation, a smile, an invitation, a kind word, a gift, a visit, an offer of help, a card, a Merry Christmas!… our love… to fill those holes deep within, to bring someone else closer to Him. " YES!!!! I so believe this, too.

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    1. Martianne,

      I've been pondering how God uses everything to bring others close to Him. You might enjoy this post: The Advent Window (Revisited) written by Nancy.

      http://www.thecloisteredheart.org/2013/12/the-advent-window-revisited.html

      Thank you for visiting my blog!

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  6. What a beautiful and telling post, Sue.
    Bringing Christ to others is truly the best gift we can give to others, and ourselves.

    Continued blessings...

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    1. Thank you, Valerie! Yes, in bringing Christ to others, we also move closer to God. Isn't that a wonderful thought?

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

      I hope your Advent is very blessed!

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  7. Sue, your reflections are, as always, spot on. Especially that bit about having no right to feel superior --because I admit it is tempting to puff up my pride. Thank you for your prayers, my friend. (There. I hope I don't sound like a spammy commentator :))

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    1. Anabelle,

      No danger of you getting all puffed up with pride, not with your honesty! A spammy commentator? I love your quick wit. A few words and you have made me smile. Mary, Undoer of Knots has been petitioned once again. Praying she leads you through the pain. God bless!

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  8. I grew up very similar way. I was raised in a Catholic house, but the focus at Christmas was more about Santa and the presents. I have worked hard on trying to make the season more memorable for my children. I want them to know the true meaning for Christmas.

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    1. Monique,

      It's great to develop our own ways of celebrating Christmas with our families, isn't it? I enjoyed reading your Advent posts. We both have similar traditions! While we are teaching our children the true meaning of Christmas they can still have fun. Don't you just love the tradition of the travelling Wise Men?

      Thank you for visiting my blog!

      Delete
  9. Good point...rather than getting upset (or a little judgmental) about the giant inflatable Santa's, we need to focus and to bring Jesus to others. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Monica,

      Oh those huge inflatable Santas are awful! But I guess God can work through anything.

      Thank you for organising this link up. Hope your Advent is very blessed!

      Delete
  10. I grew up in a Protestant Christian home. The big event in Advent was the Christmas pageant at church. I was always an angel. Every year the experience drew me closer to the Lord. Now when I see my grandchildren in Christmas plays or hear the hymn, "What Child is This?" I remember the verse cues we used to start down the aisle in the dark church with our candles. Then we lit the candles at each pew and stepped inside the pews past the worshipers to light to candles in the stained-glass windows. My faith grew each year. Then I fell in love with a Catholic man in college and we begin new traditions far from home. The pageants of my teen-age years brought me closer each year to God and prepared me for a fuller celebration in the Catholic Church.

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    1. Nancy,

      I love pageants! I've never seen one though, just read about them, and seen them in movies. In the past, we have got together with friends to sing carols, and our children have dressed up. I have memories of my heart overflowing with joy as I watched my little girls dressed up as angels. They looked so beautiful and innocent, their eyes wide with wonder. My baby is now 9 but still loves pretending!

      Thank you so much for describing your childhood traditions. I wonder if we can build on the traditions from our childhood, adding to them but taking some of them forward with us. Some could be reproduced in the home, if not the church.

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

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  11. What a beautiful reflection! I really loved this line: "I knew it was about love, but was it also about Love?" It's so easy to get distracted by the secularized version of Christmas, even when you do have the Faith. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Christine,

      Thank you for reading my post, and for following my blog! I hope you're having a very blessed Advent with your beautiful family. I love your blog header photo!

      Delete
  12. I love these lines from your post: I know I have no right to feel superior because of the way we celebrate Christmas. I can’t look down on those who are planning a Christmas without Christ. I only arrived here because God gave me a great gift. He drew me into the Church through the words and actions and love of others around me. And I am full of gratitude.

    I believe that bringing Christ to others is a grateful response for the grace given to us to know Him and to have a personal relationship with Him. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Teresa,

      A grateful response? Oh yes! You have said that perfectly. Thank you for your Christmas greetings. I hope you have a very happy and blessed Christmas too.

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  13. A very beautiful, thoughtful post.

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    1. Thank you! It's kind of you to read my post. Hope you're having a blessed Advent. God bless!

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  14. "So while we're whispering Come Lord Jesus Come! I hope we can watch out for ways to bring Christ to others." Yes! This. I love these words and may we all remember them. Thank you for sharing, I'm headed over to check out your advent post you linked too. As a new Catholic celebrating Advent/Christmas for the first time as a Catholic I am always looking for new ideas and traditions to deepen and grow in our Faith!

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    1. Chelsey,

      Oh what a beautiful and wonderful adventure you've just set out on! No doubt you'll remember this Christmas forever. I hope it's very special for you.

      "Come Lord Jesus Come"... You might have discovered the answering response to that prayer in the comments of my 'Advent Before Christmas' post... "Come quickly!" I hadn't heard that before. Isn't it great to share and learn new things?

      God bless!

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  15. Thank you for reminding of the Advent prayer - Come Lord Jesus! I usually do this with my kindergarten class. I am going to add this prayer to our daily Advent prayer service.

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    1. Charlotte,

      Sometimes the shortest prayers can say so much. I guess you could get your class to respond 'Come quickly!' Either way, it's a prayer that can be said over and over, with great longing during Advent.

      Thank you for visiting my blog!

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  16. We always had Santa ect. as children, (full disclosure: I still do Santa with my children) but what I remember from my childhood Christmases more than anything else was how we celebrated His birth in our church. I was Protestant then, but the joy of Christmas was Jesus, and that joy remains with me even today! Santa was delightful fun, but Jesus was the real gift. Loved reading this, your reminder to bring Him to others in gratitude for the gift of faith that He has given freely is so true! Thanks for the encouragement to bring Him to others with joy. PS: And in Minnesota we had snow, and lots of it!

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    1. Heidi,

      We started off including Santa in our Christmases. I guess we couldn't leave him out. We wouldn't have had much of a Christmas without him because we didn't celebrate in a religious way. But I wasn't much good at keeping up the pretence. I kept forgetting the presents were supposed to be from Santa, not me! It's just as well I was given the gift of faith so we could replace Santa with Jesus! Not that I'm against Santa at all. Yes, he is fun but Jesus is the real gift. I like how you put that!

      Ooh snow! A white Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebration with your family.

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  17. I love your reflections and insights as you blogged about your journey into the deeper meaning of Christmas in this post! As a cradle Catholic, we went to Mass every Sunday and I knew that we celebrated Christ's birth at Christmas, yet I still felt a disconnect with much of my faith. It wasn't until I instilled traditions with my own children and started homeschooling that I realized how important it was to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas and our faith in daily life. I clicked on your Advent link and I love that Nativity and we also have "The Jesse Tree" book that we read. This year we are reading "Bartholomew's Passage" which we all love to read as a family! Have a blessed Advent!

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    1. Tracy,

      We learn so much because of our children, don't we? It was my first two children's need for baptism that encouraged me to find out more about the Church. Our children really do make us see what is most important.

      Thank you so much for reading my Advent post as well. Our nativity set is well loved even though it is simple and hand made. The Wise Men are perfect for hiding around the house because they are unbreakable.

      Bartholomew's Passage? Oh, I must find out more! We love collecting books!

      I hope you are enjoying Advent too. Thank you for taking the time to stop and chat!

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  18. Hi my sweet friend Sue, I had a similar upbringing in a Catholic home. Santa was the focus yet were told that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus. I don't blame my parents yet I'm appreciative of this time that I have my son. I can find an abundance of ideas in the library and of course, the internet to celebrate Advent. I've learned more as an adult about my Catholic faith than my childhood and I can pass it on to my son. Teaching RE also helped because I would research ideas and I learned so much.

    So yes, we live in a culture that promotes Santa over Jesus so we must stand firm and teaching the truth to our families! May God bless you and your family.

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    1. Noreen,

      How wonderful it is to chat with you!

      Our children really do have a head start on us as far as their knowledge of the faith goes, don't they? The Catholic faith is so rich. There is always something else to learn. I love learning alongside my children. We use the Internet too for ideas and information. And then there's books. When I was a new Catholic good books were so hard to find. We really are spoilt for choice these days. A few clicks of the mouse and another book is heading our way!

      May God bless you and your family too!

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  19. Wonderful. Simply wonderful. It is really hard to focus on Advent when the world screams CHRISTMAS, and then stops as soon as December 26 rolls around. Thank you for this reflection.

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    1. Matthew,

      Thank you for your kind words! You are so right about it being hard to focus on Advent when the world is already celebrating Christmas. God bless!

      Delete
  20. My children are dreaming of mountains of presents and I don't know a mother who isn't stressed out of her mind right now. In this pre-Christmas whirlwind, we are tempted to forget the meaning of Advent as a time of patient waiting and reflection. More shockingly, we might miss out on the true joy of Christmas!
    Let's keep Christ in Christmas and spread the "good news." Here's a great video to share:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMiOrieIFg8

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    1. Tina,

      Oh yes! It is so hard not to get caught up in the pre-Christmas whirlwind. I guess we just want to make Christmas as perfect as we can for our children. Now I have wrapped the gifts I feel so relieved. Nothing to distract us from preparing our hearts for Jesus!

      Thank you so much for the link. The video is beautiful. I hope you have a very happy Christmas with your family. Thank you so much for stopping by. God bless!

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  21. I heartily agree..."Bring Christ to Others!" Hurrah! Yes! My family also celebrates Advent with a Jesse Tree. We enjoy the special family time. And, in my way I bring Christ to others by making Jesse Tree ornament sets for them to use for Advent. Please visit my Etsy shop to see my ornaments: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkScissorsDesign

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