Christmas Traditions
Jesse Tree
Advent Wreath
A prayer for the Advent table
Giving Tree

Christmas 2011 Mass Times
CHRISTMAS EVE - Sat  24 December
    NB No Saturday 5pm Vigil Mass
7pm          (Vigil) Family Mass .
11.15pm   Carols followed by Midnight Mass

CHRISTMAS DAY - Sun 25 December   
8 & 10am Christmas Masses  

To print a St Michael's Church Calendar for Advent showing times for Mass, Reconciliation during Advent
click here
Jesse Tree
Advent is a time of waiting for Jesus’ birthday.  We all love to get ready for birthdays.  We celebrate them with family and friends.

Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.  We get ready by decorating Jesus’ family tree, the Jesse Tree.  Jesse was fater to King David, one of the ancestors of Jesus.  We decorate the Jesse tree with symbols that remind us of the people who waited for Jesus to come.
Advent Wreath
ADVENT is the time for us to prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.   One very old Advent custom is the ADVENT WREATH.

The CIRCLE represents the thousands of years from Adam to Christ during which the world waited for the coming of the SAVIOUR.   It also represents the cycle of years in which we wait for the Second Coming of Christ.

The FOUR CANDLES are lit on the FOUR WEEKS of Advent.   The rose coloured candle is lit on the Third Sunday, the Sunday of Joy within Advent.    THE LORD IS NEAR.

The wreath is CIRCULAR to symbolise the eternity of God, and the GREENERY indicates the freshness of God.   Green is also the colour of HOPE.

During the first week one candle is lit, in the second two, in the third three, and finally in the fourth week all four candles are lit.

At Table During Advent - A Prayer

Leader: Blessed are you Lord,

God of all creation:

In the darkness and in the light.

Blessed are you as we wait

in joyful hope

for the coming of our Saviour

Jesus Christ.

All: For the kingdom, the power,

And the glory are yours,

Now and forever.

Leader: Come Lord Jesus!

All: Come quickly!

Giving Tree
The giving of gifts on Christmas has its historical origin in the feast of St. Nicholas during Advent (December 6).  Bishop Nichoas of Myra was popular and much venerated for his great kindness towards the poor and children.  To manifest the attitude of the Saint and to imitate his example, the feast of St. Nicholas became a day of gift-giving.

At the time of the Reformation there was an aversion against the veneration of Saints partly due to an exaggerated cult of Saints.  The feast and veneration of St. Nicholas were abolished in the Protestant churches and gift-giving was transferred to Christmas.  In this process a new meaning and motivation was given to this tradition.  It was now no more the example of St. Nicholas and his love for children and the poor that was the driving force, but the love of God.

As God gave Himself to us in the person of Jesus, so we give ourselves to others in the form of presents.  It is now our great task to show ways and means to rediscover the true meaning of gift-giving on Christmas and to continue this beautiful tradition.

Our Giving Tree:
  1. Take a tag from the tree
  2. Bring a gift for the age group suggested
  3. Tape the tag onto the parcel
  4. Place the gift under the tree
Tips for Christmas
Christmas is a time of joy, of love and of giving.
So often it can become a time of stress and isolation.
Try one of the suggestions below for a stress free and
Christ centred Christmas.

1.      Do keep Christ in Christmas. Have a Christmas crib set with or even instead of your Christmas tree. Place your gifts before the crib, like the three Kings

2.      Do remember that it is a time of giving not receiving

3.      Do teach your children and one another that it is not a time for expensive presents but for symbolic gifts. Perhaps save the expensive presents for more personal occasions such as birthdays.

4.      Do remember that the gift tradition grew out of the activities of generous people wishing to share at this time.

5.      Do send Christmas cards and contact family and friends.

6.      Do spend some time in both personal and family prayer over the Christmas period. Apart from acknowledging God’s presence, prayer gives us peace and reassurance of God with us

7.      Do have a happy Christmas.

External Links
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