Did you know that each month has a traditional Catholic devotion? This year, let’s focus on each devotion month-by-month to grow in our faith and traditions! Make yourself notes, write it on your calendar, and pray a specific prayer each day of the month to remember. You could use a prayer already associated with the devotion or pray a personal one.

One of the four Marian Dogmas is the Immaculate Conception which is also this month’s devotion. (Some also dedicate it to the Divine Infancy, which is equally appropriate.) You can learn more about the Immaculate Conception here. It is a title used to describe St. Mary, among the many others we use as Catholics to honor and respect Our Lord and Savior’s Mother. Remember, this refers to St. Mary’s conception, in which she was saved before she was born to prepare her for her unique role.

Among many feasts, memorials, and reasons to celebrate throughout Advent and Christmas season, this month is full of famous feasts: St. Nicholas on December 6th, St. Lucy on the 13th, Our Lady of Guadalupe on the 12th, St. Juan Diego on the 9th, and, most obviously, the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas!) on December 25.

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. The Holy Innocents, those innocent young lives lost in effort for the secular king to stop Our Lord from being born, are remembered on December 28th.

During these celebrations with family, I hope you are filled with peace, joy, and love—what the candles on your Advent wreath represent. While we reflect on birth, conception, family, and saints who certainly stand up for love even if it meant losing their lives, please remember those we lose every day to abortion, suicide, and other instances that unnaturally end another’s life. 

I don’t mean to dampen the festivities! What I mean is to think of how to help end the unnecessary loss of life. Let’s think of the Baby Jesus, cradled in St. Mary’s arms, and let’s not stray from gently guiding parents to healthy and empowering options for unexpected children. Let’s not look at young or old pregnant women who may or may not be married as if they are to blame for anything. Instead, let’s look at them with unconditional love, send them kind words, and pray for them and their child.

Let’s follow the example of the Holy Family. St. Joseph had a choice to ignore St. Mary’s pregnancy and marry her anyway or to do what was normal and reveal her to the community to be stoned. Before the angel revealed God’s plan to him, St. Joseph already chose to silently leave St. Mary. We know that after the angel spoke to him, he accepted St. Mary in marriage and the rest of his life, he taught and loved their little family. Pray for fathers to emulate St. Joseph with stark bravery and humble acceptance of life.

Let’s never treat motherhood or fatherhood like it’s a sin, no matter the circumstances. Parenthood is a gift. Life is a gift. This is what we should celebrate this season—this life and the life in eternity we can now achieve through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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Reflection Questions:

1.      What will you do this Advent to wait and prepare yourself for the Lord’s coming?

2.      How do you celebrate all twelve days of Christmas?

3.      What are you Catholic resolutions for the New Year?

4.      What title of St. Mary do you commonly refer to her using and why?

5.      What is your birth story? The story of all your children’s arrivals?

6.      What will you do to assure that every person has the right to life from conception to natural death?

7. Is there someone in your family, who may have had an unexpected pregnancy or even an abortion, whom you owe an apology to for acting uncharitably? Perhaps someone with different beliefs with whom you can make amends this season?

Challenge

Commit to an effort to help everyone be respected from conception to natural death, and celebrate all twelve day of Christmas https://catholic-link.org/celebrate-all-twelve-days-of-christmas/ . These are two challenges that are opportunities to change lives as well as inspire some creativity. 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash