US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Christmas preparations

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Decorating the tree and setting the table means a lot more than decking the halls for a reader from Ireland.

By Guest Blogger Amanda Curran

What I love about Christmas is the fact that it brings out the child in me. I love lying in the snow making snow angels. I love the sense of mystery and wonder it brings as I prepare to welcome once again the child Jesus into my life.

The Christmas season is a time of preparation where I can thank God for all the graces and blessings that he has given me and my family for the year. I love walking into the church and seeing the crib going up piece by piece and finally on Christmas day the anticipation and delight when finally the child Jesus is placed in his rightful place.

The Christmas season is a time for families to come together. A lot of my family members died at this time, but I still try to make them a part of the Christmas festivities. When the tree goes up, I like to imagine that it is pointing to heaven and connecting me with my deceased family members, reminding me that they, too, are present with me at this time.

I imagine as I decorate the tree that they are smiling down on me. I firmly believe that when our loved ones pass on, they are still with us in a unique and special way, safeguarding us and praying for us. They also need our prayers so I take this time to remember them as I put up the tree and in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Christmas season is about laying a place at the table for a stranger—be that a neighbor, an elderly person in the community, a person that lives on their own, or someone you should reconcile with at Christmas. That place is not only set for the stranger, but it is also set for Jesus. He is being welcomed into the home.

Don't let Christmas be simply a time of stress and burden and worry about money. Let it be a time of love and joy and a time of waiting and preparing for the time when the most important guest, Jesus, comes to the meal.

Guest blogger Amanda Curran is a U.S. Catholic reader and parishioner living in Kells, a small town in Ireland.

Read more blogs about Advent and Christmas traditions at Submit a guest blog to We may put this together into a holiday theme Meditation Room for the magazine next year. Any reflections selected for publication will win $50! 

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.