“What’s the point of Christmas?” we ask our kids after their 82nd time watching Elf this week.
“Jesus!” they shout.
Whew! We drill that question into our children every few days during this season of Advent to help them remember the focal point of this entire holiday.
Now, we love all the trappings of Christmas just as much as anyone—the warm flannel, the hot chocolate and cheezy Hallmark movies, and the lights upon lights upon lights. It’s also so easy to lose the fact that Christmas is about Christ. God became man in the person of Jesus and this is the point of our celebration!
We ask a variation of that original question every time we arrive at our parish for Mass:
“Why do we go to Mass?”
“To say thank you to God!” they shout. (And hopefully to behave well enough for donuts afterwards). The point of Mass is not entertainment, but to give worship to God. Jesus wants to nourish us with the Word of Scripture and with the Eucharist, the “Source and Summit” of our faith.
Every Mass is like a little Christmas, we tell our children, for Jesus comes to us in the smallest, most humblest of ways. Did you know that Bethlehem means “City of Bread,” and that the manager is the trough where the animals fed? From his first moments on earth, the Eucharist was being foreshadowed. Jesus’ destiny from the very beginning is to feed us as the very Bread of Life!
How To Keep The Eucharist At The Center Of Holiday Celebrations
So how do we keep Jesus in and through the Eucharist at the center of our family’s holiday celebrations? Consider the following options that might work for you and your family:
- Make time for Adoration as a family. See if a local parish is offering a night of worship and attend together (even if it’s only 20 minutes). The family that prays together stays together!
- Ask questions leading up to the Christmas Mass that you will attend. Talk about why the Mass is so important and even ask difficult questions, such as, “Why do you think many adults stop going to Church?”
- Using stories help children understand the true meaning of the Eucharist. Read together a book like The Real Presence by Ascension Press. This book shows how two bickering cousins are brought together during the Last Supper and witness the first Eucharistic banquet offered. Our kids love the artwork and simplicity of the story.
- Serve together as a family! Go to a soup kitchen or collect toys for families in need. Some of our favorite memories are serving the poor on Christmas night in a local park, giving out food and warm clothing.
It’s difficult to stay focused during the stress of the season and put our faith as a focal point, but it’s 100% worth the effort. And because “more is caught than taught,” our kids will see our attempts to honor God first and our witness is what they will remember. Enjoy the “stuff” of the season, yes, but keep Christ at the center, especially through the gift of the Eucharist.
Jackie Angel is a full-time traveling speaker, singer/songwriter, and worship leader from Orange County, CA. In 2006, she became an artist with Oregon Catholic Press, with whom she has released two albums. Her husband Bobby Angel is a native Floridian who worked for eight years as a campus minister and teacher at an all-boys school.
Jackie and Bobby have spoken and written on Catholic marriage, discernment, and Theology of the Body. The pair are regular video contributors on Ascension Presents, and currently live in Dallas, Texas with their four children.