Merry Christmas from our students!
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 contest is promoted by the Christ in Christmas Committee, which coordinates the placement of “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboards throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This year, a record 59 billboards were put up! The following contributions are must-reads for Christmas.
Dr. Lancaster: Christ is the center of our lives
Dr. Jan Daniel Lancaster
SUPERINTENDENT of CATHOLIC SCHOOLS
Dear friends of Catholic schools:
I am almost ready for Christmas, and I am sure that you are, too!
I am also sure that our Catholic school students are ready. I know they are ready because when I read their Keep Christ in Christmas poetry and essay entries and looked at their beautiful posters, I was overwhelmed by the fact that these students truly understand the meaning of Christmas. They understand the miracle and wonder of God coming to us in the flesh, in the form of a newborn child.
In fact, these students refreshed my sense of awe at the beauty of Christ’s birth. They reminded me that the greatest gift I can give this Christmas is to share God’s love with others. After all, that is what God gives us for Christmas – he gives us himself.
I thank the Council of Catholic Schools Cooperative Clubs and the Clarion Herald for sponsoring this contest each year to remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas.
I also thank the students, parents, principals, faculty, and staff of our Catholic schools for keeping Christ in their hearts all year long. I thank our students for recognizing that Christ is the center of their lives, at Christmas and always; I thank our Catholic school parents for entrusting their children to our care; and I thank our pastors, principals, teachers, and staff for seeing in every child the face of God who came to us in the flesh. What a sacred and beautiful task, to educate and love these children. Thank you!
This Christmas, I hope you all find the “good news of great joy” proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem. I hope you find it in the smiles of children and the elderly, in the love of family and friends, and in the embrace you find in the parish you call home. God is with us, wherever we go. That is good news!
On behalf of our Catholic schools, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Christ yesterday, Christ today, Christ forever
The forgotten present
ST. ANGELA MERICI SCHOOL
Every year, there’s a Christmas present that everyone gets that doesn’t get opened. It gets forgotten. It gets lost behind the new Wii game in the bright, red paper and the twinkle lights flashing on the tree. It’s always there, though, year after year.
I can’t believe that we miss it. It’s probably the biggest present any of us have ever received. It still gets left behind, hidden behind the pile of crumpled bows, empty cardboard boxes and plates of cookie crumbs Santa Claus left.
It’s the coolest present ever, too. It never runs out of power. It doesn’t break, no matter how rough we handle it. The best part is, even if we stumbled onto the naughty list, we can still get this present.
My mom loves to hide presents. Sometimes, I can’t figure out where she has stashed them. The forgotten present isn’t hard to find – not if we open our eyes and, especially, our hearts.
We can find it when we drop some change in the collection bucket of the lady ringing the bell in front of the mall. We can see it when we bring blankets to the homeless living under the bridge by the Superdome. It’s there when we help a classmate who is having trouble making friends.
The forgotten present is love, like the love God showed for us when he gave us his only Son. When we look past the toys and the decorated trees and remember what Christmas is truly about, we receive the greatest gift of all.
It’s just October!
ST. MARGARET MARY SCHOOL
October 12, 2012 – Today’s agenda: Shopping and dining with Nanny. First stop on our list, WalMart.
As we walked in the store, Boom! Christmas decorations galore! My Nanny laughed and said, “You’ve got to be joking, people. It’s just October!”
I thought that was funny since my Pappy sports a “Keep Christ in Christmas” decal on his car all year long. Pappy felt his decal was a reminder to people that Jesus wants us to be good Christians all year long, not just at Christmas.
As we stood in line, two rowdy boys were fighting over a toy. Their mom reminded them that if they didn’t behave, another toy was coming off their Santa list. That’s when I thought to myself, “Geez, people, it’s just October!”
Next, eating at Cracker Barrel. Again, Christmas decor everywhere! I heard my Nanny say, “This is crazy! It’s just October.”
I then noticed an elderly lady sitting at a table by herself. She had only a piece of bread and water. Her clothes were rags. I felt bad because here I was going to eat a good meal, and she looked hungry.
The waitress explained that the lady was ill, jobless and homeless. I suddenly remembered Pappy’s decal and how we should always be like Jesus and help those in need. So when our food came out, I decided to bring my food over to the lady. She accepted it graciously and said, “Thank you, son, and may God bless you.”
As we were leaving, my Nanny bought a gift card and asked the cashier to please give it to the homeless lady as a Christmas gift. The cashier smiled and then replied, “How sweet! A Christmas gift, but it’s just October!”
The Christmas tree
MOUNT CARMEL ACADEMY
With its evergreen scent and messy clean up, the Christmas tree is a universal symbol of the holidays. Setting up the Christmas tree not only marks the time of year when children try to break their naughty habits to score a spot on Santa’s nice list, but it also marks a time of great spiritual enrichment.
Each part of a Christmas tree is a reflection of the spiritual aspect of the holiday. The stand that holds the tree is just like God, the stronghold on which everything depends. The birth of Jesus, Mary’s faith and everything else that makes up this holiday ground their roots in the love and generosity of our Lord.
Next, the lights go up, similar to Advent candles being lit. Both the candles and the lights anticipate the approach of that wonderful Christmas morning when the long awaited Jesus Christ is given to us.
The tree also is adorned with ornaments resembling God’s children: each is unique and beautiful in its own way and makes the world more beautiful by his or her presence.
Lastly, all attention focuses on the star atop the tree, which radiates elegance and light over all the decorations. This is how the birth of Jesus should be commemorated; everyone’s attention and efforts should be focused on celebrating the incarnation of our beloved Jesus Christ.
The gifts under the tree, symbols of love and kindness, remind us that generosity should live year round. Once the tree is fully decorated, it stands as a symbol of the Catholic Church. All trinkets and lights work together to make a beautiful tree, just as all people, sacraments and holidays together make the church.
Look a little closer: Jesus is Christmas.
‘What is Christmas about? Jesus, no doubt!’
It’s about something bigger
VISITATION OF OUR LADY SCHOOL
We celebrate Christmas once every year,
But it’s not about Frosty, Santa or his reindeer.
It’s about something bigger that you may not know
A woman with child and nowhere to go.
They traveled all night, they had to go far,
An angel had told them, “Just follow the star.”
Mary was tired and needed to rest.
The only place to stay was a stable at best.
In the heavens above the Angels did sing.
That night in the stable, Mary gave birth to our King.
His name is Jesus, “Our Savior,” His Fate
And He is the reason that we celebrate.
Is there something else?
ST. CLEMENT OF ROME SCHOOL
Santa and reindeers
and carols after dark,
hot cocoa and marshmallows
or bright lights at the park,
stockings with candies and presents galore –
is that it for Christmas,
or is there something more?
The birth of the Christ Child
took place on that night,
with shepherds and wise men
coming to the site.
The bright star and angels
all in the sky
remind us that God’s love we just can’t deny.
Don’t use the term “X-mas”
for it is untrue.
Why not celebrate God’s Son
born for me and for you?
And if Jesus is forgotten
in the joy of his day,
tell all that without him,
souls would go astray.
If no Christ is in Christmas
then please tell me how
can there be salvation
from then until now?
We should always remember him, and
on his birthday most of all.
He guards over us well,
His care never small.
what Christmas does mean, then,
because Jesus loves us more
than we can imagine.
So when someone asks you,
“What is Christmas about?”
Answer most happily,
“Jesus, no doubt!”
The forgotten birthday
There’s always one thing we forget to include
after we open our presents and eat the food.
Everyone’s eager for the man with the sleigh,
But what about Christ’s forgotten birthday?
When the gifts are unwrapped and the food is all gone,
The day is over and people’s lives seem to go on,
But what they discount and overlook, too,
Is that Jesus was born to save me and you.
So why do people always forget?
He’s the one to whom we owe all our debts.
Jesus deserves the biggest “Happy Birthday!” one could give,
and praise and appreciation for as long as we live.
Remember he’s the one that brought us our salvation
and that Christmas is for Him, not just a gift-giving celebration.
his love is enduring
OUR LADY CCD
his love is enduring
his love his forever
he is securing
for eternity he reigns
waiting for you
high up in the heavens where he explains:
his love is unconditional, his love is kind
he is the way, the truth, and the light
he’s the blowing wind
he’s the reason
we have life
and why we have been given this Christmas season
A myriad of faces, messages of ‘Christ in Christmas’
Mount Carmel Academy
Pravina said she was inspired by “how God sacrificed his Son for us, and that we need to be thankful for this sacrifice by celebrating his birthday. We would not have Christmas if it weren’t for Jesus dying on the cross for us. ... To me, Christmas is a lot like the crucifixion of Christ. I think of the tree representing the cross because we carry the tree into our houses to have a presence of Christ right in front of us for Christmas, just like how Jesus carried his cross up the mountain to be crucified on it.”
Visitation of Our Lady CCD
Liliana said: “I chose to draw the Three Wise Men coming to Jesus to remind us that Christmas isn’t about lots of presents, as Jesus only received three.”
Visitation of Our Lady CCD
Logan said: “The favorite part of my drawing is the letter ‘T’ because it is a cross that is a big symbol of Catholics. My drawing shows that you should always remember to keep CHRIST in Christmas!”
St. Pius X
Meredith said: “We learned in school, without Jesus our life would feel empty. And, I love puzzles, so I thought maybe I could put it together. ... I put them in a stable because that’s where Jesus was born.” Meredith was excited to win. “In art, you can just be creative in whatever picture you draw.”
Mary Queen of Peace
Claudia said: “When I think Christmas, I think the nativity and Mary and Jesus. I thought about the gold and silver the wise men bring. I wanted to do something different from the original colors. I wanted it to be lively and colorful like Christmas is.”