Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we begin a sprint to Christmas. Here are a few things I am really looking forward to this season.
The Celebration of Advent
My very favorite liturgical season is Advent. Beginning with a focus on Christ’s coming at the end of time, the season eventually turns our attention to his birth in history. Advent positively bids us to prepare for both. The built in sense of expectation is a joy that transcends whatever else this busy time of year brings.
To guide and instruct us through our Advent journey we are launching a new series. Taking as its point of departure the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” we’ll be looking the virtue of gratitude. As part of this series we’ll be inviting parishioners feedback on their experiences. It should be fun.
Each year as part of our preparation for Christmas we always host a mission project, just to make sure it isn’t all about us as well as brighten the holiday of others. This year we’ll be funding a water project in a very needy part of the world. Donors receive a gift card they can give as a gift…the perfect Christmas present for everyone on your list.
Fairgrounds Move –In/Minister’s Rally
The excitement built into the season definitely ramps up as we begin the move from our Ridgely Road campus to the Maryland State Fairgrounds. It’s a big process, requiring many hands, and long hours, but definitely a lot of fun. This year it all begins on December 17 and continues up thru the morning of Christmas Eve. One especially fun and festive event is our annual “Minister’s Rally” when we welcome all of the hundreds of member ministers who will be serving Christmas Eve for a general orientation of the facility. With Christmas Carols and hot chocolate the evening definitely puts everyone in the holiday spirit. By the way, if you haven’t already signed up to serve, do it today: churchnativity.com
Annual Pilgrimage to Catholic TV
Each year, just before Christmas Tom Corcoran and I travel to Boston to visit with our friends at Catholic TV. I usually record a few in-studio Masses for subsequent broadcast, often we record promotions and there is always a guest appearance on their morning show, “This Is the Day.” We also use the opportunity to confirm final details about their Christmas Eve broadcast of our Christmas Mass (this year it will be aired at 11:30pm EST, with rebroadcasts through the day, Christmas Day).
Of course the highlight of the whole season is Christmas Eve Mass. This year we’ll be adding more seats. For the kids we have a delightful and magical program we call “Jingle-Jam” as well as a nursery (“All Stars”) for little children and a “family friendly seating area for parents who choose to keep their little ones with them.
Two Mass, 4 & 6, both bring beautiful, soaring music and amazing technology. Insiders tip: Come early, get your perfect seat, and enjoy a holiday program presented by members of our house band before Mass begins. It is a night like no other and not to be missed.
The sprint to Christmas has begun. Enjoy it!