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Keeping Christ in Christmas – in word and art

Congratulations to our winners!
    The Council of Catholic School Cooperative Clubs sponsors the annual Keep Christ in Christmas poster, essay and poetry contest. The Office of Catholic Schools selected winners in three divisions: grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
    In addition, the Office of Religious Education judged entries from children who attend parish schools of religion.
    The winning entries on pages 18 and 19 are inspiring reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.
    The contest also is promoted by the Christ in Christmas Committee, which each year coordinates the placement of “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboards throughout the archdiocese of New Orleans. This year, a record 49 billboards were put up.       


    Sometimes, I wonder what’s happening to the world. People are afraid to admit they are Christians. “Christmas” is no longer a word. Now, it’s “Xmas.”
    A Christmas without Christ would be ... different. There wouldn’t be midnight Mass on Dec. 25. Angels, shepherds and three wise men wouldn’t mean anything to us. They would be just ordinary words like “shoe” and “kitten.” Sure, they are different like all other things, but when you think of the words “shoe” and “kitten,” no memory of the most important event in the history of man comes to mind. That life-changing event was the holy, magnificent birth of our Savior and Christ, Jesus.
    Sometimes, we should stop and think, “What if Jesus never existed? If it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have Heaven to look forward to. We wouldn’t have our sins forgiven. Over all, life would not be the same.”
    We should definitely remember Christ the minute we wake up on his birthday: Christmas. My family has a beautiful tradition. First, we get our statuette of baby Jesus and have him blessed. Next, we wrap him up carefully and place him under our Christmas tree. Finally, on Christmas morning, we don’t open any gift until baby Jesus is unwrapped and honored.
    Jesus should be the most important person in our lives. All people must remember and adore him in every way. Mostly, we need to remember, if there’s one thing that surely should not happen, it is a Christmas without Christ.



    The world is in desperate need for Christ to be in our lives.
    There are so many bad things happening around us. There are so many innocent people being killed each day. We should always keep Christ in Christmas. But, more importantly, we should have him close to our hearts each day. We should never take Christ for granted.
    If everyone would pray each day to him for peace, unity and love, we would have a better world.
    We need to become united as one. During all the hustle Christmas brings, we lose the main focus and priority, which is Christ. During Christmas, people worry more about material items instead of Jesus. He is always there for us. He never lets us down. He is there to guide us along our journey in life.
    There are many ways we can do better and Keep Christ in Christmas. For example, instead of saying, “Happy Holidays,” we should always say, “Merry Christmas.” This way we are keeping Christ the main focus.
    Another example is to display a nativity scene. You can also create your own advent wreath. Many local churches have Christmas programs that everyone can take part in. You can be a part of the play by participating or just observing the play.
    You can also help at a local food bank by packing boxes for the homeless or serving meals to them. You can also adopt a family in need and go to a store and pick up some essential items for them. We can also show our appreciation to the troops by sending a care package.
    There are so many examples to Keep Christ in Christmas. Our main priority is to keep Jesus the main focus. His birthday is Dec. 25, and we should all celebrate him by following in his footsteps.



    I finally found a comfortable spot to sleep. As I start to dose off the barn doors are thrown open by two strangers who walk in and stand by the manger. With my curiosity growing, I move closer to investigate. I only get close enough to see they are not putting in new hay. They both look tired. The woman is sitting in a pile of straw in the corner. The man, talking to the innkeeper, goes and sits by the woman. Since nothing exciting is happening, I lie back down and fall asleep. Soon after, my mother is waking me, telling me a miracle is about to take place. I rush over to the two strangers. A while later there is a third stranger who is crying. The innkeeper wraps him in cloth and places him in the manger. Three new strangers, appearing inside the stable, have brought gifts for this child who seems to have a halo. I do not know why, but I am kneeling before this majestic child. Watching me, everyone in the stable is beginning to kneel as well. The strangers keep saying, “This is the Son of God.” I tell my mother that I wish there was something I could give him. She says, “You gave him the manger that holds your food for him to use as a bed. That is one of the best gifts you can give him!” I walk over to the child’s mother who says, “Thank you, little donkey.” She walks over to where her son is sleeping and I see his face for the first time. He opens his eyes and I give him a lick. I have seen the greatest miracle any living being could ever see. I have seen the Son of God.

The Babe of Bethlehem:
He’s got the whole world in his hands!

When you ask students to depict the true meaning of Christmas, get ready for a visual catechism lesson. Olivia Polk of Archbishop Chapelle High School, top left, decided to illustrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Diana Nguyen, top right, of St. Rosalie drew a simple manger scene, which includes the Three Wise Men coming to pay homage to the Christ Child. Brennan Brouillette used the Christmas tree motif to show that Jesus does, in fact, give the best gifts: life, hope, faith, charity, love and joy. And Sabrina Sabio, who attend CCD classes at Visitation of Our Lady, offers a familiar take on Christmas: “Know Christ, Know Christmas. No Christ, No Christmas.”  Polk’s drawing was used as the cover for the Christmas card sent out by the Office of Catholic Schools this year. 





‘Where are you, Christ?’ and Christmas across the world



Where are You, Christ?

The lights and the displays can catch your eyes.
The smell of sugar cookies and the baking of pies.
Are these all signs of Christmas?

The sound of scissors across the paper.
Ribbons and bows scattered all over.
How many boxes are under the tree? How many are for me?
Are these all signs of Christmas?

But deep in my heart, I truly know,
That this holiday started long ago.
In a small, cold stable Christ Jesus was born,
To teach us the meaning of love and sharing,
For all of us to reach out with caring.

And as I awake on Christmas morn,
I will fall to my knees to thank Christ for all he has given me –
Much more than what’s under the Christmas tree!
So display your Nativity scene for all to see,



A global Christmas

Christmas in New York, it’s cold and chilly there,
With giant, forest green Christmas trees, lighting up Times Square.
Christmas in London, they all listen to the Queen’s greetings,
Then they go to see family and friends at other meetings.
Christmas in Japan, they wait for Hoteiosho, and listen to the story of the nativity we all know.
Christmas in Iraq, they pass the “Touch of Peace” and jump over the bonfire, and the wishes never cease.
Christmas in France, they call it Noel, and eat “buche de Noel,” and all feels joyful and well.
Christmas in Greece, children run from door to door, singing Christmas carols, and getting candy kids adore.
Christmas in Australia, it gets really hot! They pack their dinner up, head for the beach and drop.
Christmas in Mexico, it’s covered in red flowers, kids break open piñatas to eat candies, sweets and sours.
Christmas in New Orleans, freezing, but never snows, Christmas in the Oaks, with turkey and gumbo!
Christmas is so different, in every place you go, what cultures will surprise you, you might never know!
Holidays are meaningful, in every single way, but there’s one tradition that stays the same, no matter where you stay.
Christmas is about Christ, not food or drinks or gifts, and no matter where you are, that’s what Christmas is.
So let’s keep Christ in Christmas, not just ‘cuz it’s his birthday, but because it ties us together, each and every day!



An intervention

It was December 25th
And the streets were bare
Nobody came outside
Not even by dare
As you looked through each window
Of every family’s home
You saw no tree, no lights
No Christmas snow dome
But it wasn’t always like this
No, this day was once filled with joy
It used to be called Christmas
Where they celebrated the baby boy
His name was Jesus Christ
Or Christ for short
He was the main reason
We took place in such sport
But as you walked the streets
And asked the children at play
They had not heard
Of such an important holiday
So I found it time to end the tension
To bring back Christ
To have an intervention
Keeping Christ in Christmas
Is a very important thing
It makes this day what it is
It’s what gives Christmas that little ring
We can sometimes overlook the Christ part
And worry about the presents
But let’s take a step back
And remember who it really represents
So when you don’t get that gift
And begin to get in a fuss
Don’t forget the reason why
Christ is in Christmas