Christmas is a special time set aside during the year to meditate on the great gift of Jesus Christ for us and for the world. As a Church family we make this journey through Advent together toward a deeper understanding of what Christ’s birth means for us. We meditate on how much we need his light to come into the darkness of this world. We learn how he comes to us so humbly to share with us the gift of his love.
In our Catholic schools we don’t forget about the importance of Advent in the midst of preparation for Christmas. We want students to understand how Jesus Christ’s birth at Christmas is the answer to the deepest longings of the human heart. We want them to understand that Advent is about preparing their hearts for the coming of Christ and that Jesus wants to be born again in their hearts this Christmas. It is their goal to help every child, from the youngest preschooler to the graduate, know Christ and that Christ loves them.
At Catholic schools, children can learn about the real meaning of this season as they learn to see Christ’s love in the daily example of their classmates and teachers. It is not just something they learn about in their lessons, but a lived experience. Jesus is born in their hearts in concrete ways because in our Catholic schools we incorporate Mass, Confession and other Sacraments into the school calendar.
During Advent, in particular, the messages of Christmas – love, rebirth and renewal – are highlighted in Catholic schools. With every Advent wreath made and every carol sung, children learn at their appropriate age level how to love Christ more, how to let him be born in their hearts. And, most important, they learn how very much Christ loves them. There are very few places where children can be in an environment such as this surrounded with these lessons.
We are truly blessed to have 79 Catholic schools in our Archdiocese. I pray for the children attending these schools, and hope that the message of Advent and Christmas takes deep root in their hearts.