CGS Connection – Celebrating Christmas

We hope you have had a joyful and grace-filled Christmas!

One of the ironies for CGS, and probably for any Faith Formation method, is taking a “break” during the
most beautiful and holy times of the Liturgical year. Due to the briefness of Christmas this year, the Season was actually over before we even got back to the Atria. Therefore, at least at our Latrobe CGS program, we continued to celebrate Christmas this week and maybe will even extend it to next week as well.

What does “celebrating” look like for us in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd? Most obviously is a change of the liturgically colored prayer table cloth – so as our song says, “white is for celebration.” The advent wreath might still be out, but white candles clearly indicate that the time of preparing is past, and as a 3 year old girl said last evening, “because Jesus has been born!” In most atria, the celebration of Christmas (and any major feast) is marked by a procession – a prayer with one’s whole body. Generally everyone gets a prayer table item to hold, and songs are sung as we weave around the atrium, ceremoniously taking the joy of Christ to every inch of our room.

We always end the procession at the prayer table and reset it for the new season. If possible, flowers are purchased and return to the atrium after a hiatus. Prayer words change and maybe a seasonally appropriate statue is added. The age of the children generally determines the breadth of the songs we sing together, but there is ALWAYS singing involved. Even IF the catechist needs to get the first few songs started, the children will inevitably suggest their favorites or just burst into song. This week some of our level 3 children contributed a few Christmas selections not everyone knew, but joined for the refrain. They even astounded us with beautiful harmonies. We also spend time thanking God for the most important gifts of the season. One little child out of 11 started to mention what “Santa” brought. With a gentle redirection, when questioned, even the youngest children do seem to understand that the bike or the game is a nice, but passing gift. When asked what the greatest gift of all is, with wide eyes and big smiles, they all exclaim, “Jesus!”