Archives: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #6
Welcoming the Prince of Peace
A Calendar Through Advent and Christmas
At the time of year when we greet the Prince of Peace and remember the promise of "peace on earth, good will to all," many people are anything but peaceful. Busy shoppers, anxious children, hungry and homeless families, victims of family violence and conflict worldwide, all yearn for the peace the herald angels announce. Through daily thoughts and actions, this calendar helps us begin to experience and share the peace promised by the birth of Jesus.
Children can color the calendar before hanging it up.
28 Sunday. Choose an organization you want to support this Christmas. How does the group foster peace in the world or community? How can you use your money, time and talent to join in its efforts?
29 Monday Decorate an empty coffee can with the name of the organization you chose to support. Draw pictures or clip magazine photos to decorate the can. Use it to hold money you collect as you follow this calendar.
30 Tuesday. Read a book about a person who followed Jesus' example and worked for peace in the community or world. (i.e., St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Jr.)
1 Wednesday. Think about songs and hymns with words or themes of peace. Give 5¢ for each one you can name. Sing one of the songs aloud as praise to God before a meal today.
2 Thursday. Read Isaiah 11:6. Draw a picture or write a poem based on the reading. Hang it on your refrigerator or wall.
3 Friday. Name a person in your family, your community or the world who has furthered the cause of peace this week. Write a letter of thanks to the person.
4 Saturday. Carefully read through your local newspaper today. Count the stories that report unrest in the community or world. Count those that tell of peace or peacemakers. Give 5¢ for each story about peace.
5 Sunday. What blocks you internally from peace and reconciliation with others? Pride, temper, stubbornness, vulnerability, fear? This week pay attention to this part of yourself and watch it in action. Pray for honesty.
6 Monday. Today we remember Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children. Nicholas is remembered for giving anonymously to those in need. How can you secretly give to a child in need?
7 Tuesday. " . . . pray for the well-being of someone with whom we are at odds, asking that everything we want for ourselves be given to them too . . . ." (James McGinnis, Journey Into Compassion)
8 Wednesday. Is there a friend or family member you are in conflict with? Pretend you are that person. Write a letter to yourself from that person's point of view. Can you mend the relationship?
9 Thursday. Give a gift of peace to a busy parent. Offer him or her your babysitting services for one evening.
10 Friday. Make a list of all the war toys you can think of. Are there violent toys other than guns and swords that could be considered war toys? Give 2¢ for every item on your list.
11 Saturday. Learn about a conflict going on in another part of the world. Clip newspaper or magazine articles on the issues involved. How might the conflict be settled peaceably? Pray for peace in that region.
12 Sunday. Pray, "All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon for love of you; those who endure sickness and trial, happy those who endure in peace, by you...they will be crowned." (St. Francis)
13 Monday. Spend a few minutes in silent reflection. How can you find peace in the hectic weeks before Christmas?
14 Tuesday. According to Church World Service, 20,000 children sleep on the streets of New York City each night. Are there homeless children in your community? Give 25¢ in honor of every child in your family.
15 Wednesday. Make a list of all the activities you feel obliged to do in these days before Christmas, i.e., baking cookies. Delete one activity from your list. Use the time you save to gift yourself with 10 . . . 20 . . . 30 minutes of peace.
16 Thursday. If you are provoked by someone or something today, deliberately lay down the weapons in your heart. Spend a moment with your feelings.
17 Friday. Read Luke 1:78-79. Think about the paths you will take today and the ways you can bring peace.
18 Saturday. Orga-nize a "peace walk" with your family and friends. Commit to giving 50¢ for every mile you walk. As you walk around a park or neighborhood, talk about the beauty of God's creation.
19 Sunday. Think about people who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Give 10¢ for each one you can remember.
20 Monday. Someone once said, "Peace begins when the hungry are fed." Draw a picture or write a poem about peace.
21 Tuesday. Medi-tate on the peacefulness of the nativity amid the hustle and bustle of crowded Bethlehem. What ways can you find peace amid the busy Christmas season?
22 Wednesday. Saint Polycarp said we should "persevere unceasingly in our hope." What countries do you see realizing peace in the coming year? Give 25¢ for each one.
23 Thursday. In what ways is your life a gift to others? Reflect on and celebrate the good gifts of your living.
24 Friday. Sing Silent Night. Make this night a peaceful time. Read about the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Place the baby Jesus in your creche.
December 25th marks the beginning, not the end, of a joyous Christmas celebration. After four weeks of Advent--preparing our hearts, praying, reflecting, lighting candles--we are now ready to greet the Prince of Peace. On Christmas Day and the twelve days that follow celebrate the peace promised by the birth of Jesus and share that peace with others.
25 Saturday. Part of God's gift was the incredible imagination to send us an infant Christ. An infant can do little by itself and yet can draw to itself all it needs to live. Ponder the infancy of God made human.
26 Sunday. Today is St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day). Read Acts 6:8 - 8:2. Consider following the custom of giving boxes filled with gifts to the poor.
27 Monday. Christians remember the Apostle John, the "disciple whom Jesus loved," on this day (John 21:20). Think of the people you love and say a prayer for them. Give 25¢ for each person.
28 Tuesday. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Read Matthew 2:13-23. Where in our world are the children suffering?
29 Wednesday. How do you feel about war and military intervention? When, if ever, is war "just"? How might world conflicts be handled peacefully? Write down your ideas and send them to a world leader.
30 Thursday. Think of all the people you met this past year. Give 5¢ for each person whose name you can remember.
31 Friday. Write down 3 ways you can offer gifts of peace to Jesus this coming year. (For example: trying not to argue with a sibling; or working in a soup kitchen.) Make a new year's resolution to do at least one.
1 Saturday. Read Micah 4:3-5. Draw a sword and on it write one thing that keeps our world from knowing peace. Draw a spear; on it write one fear that keeps you from knowing peace. How can you work for both world and inner peace?
2 Sunday. How are you continuing to celebrate the joy of Christmas? How are you experiencing "God with us"? Take a few moments to pray silently today.
3 Monday. How can you live more in peace with creation? On separate pieces of paper, list ways you can "refuse" purchasing certain items; ways you can "reuse" or "recycle" items; and ways you can "renew" the damaged environment.
4 Tuesday. In 1990 there were more than 800,000 refugees in the tiny African country of Malawi. How was the Holy Family like refugees as they fled to Egypt? For more information about refugees, call Church World Service at (212) 870-3153.
5 Wednesday. Today is the 11th Day of Christmas. According to the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, "my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping...." Through song and music, worship Emmanuel today. Add 11¢ to your offering can.
6 Thursday. On Epiphany we celebrate the revelation that Jesus was born for all of us. Give the money you collected to the group(s) you chose to support. Pray that the money and your actions bring peace to people of many lands and cultures.
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