Advent: A Season of Renewal
12/3/2018By Andrew Fowler
Reenacting the Christmas story. Collecting clothes and food. Providing entertainment for orphans. Simply praying and lighting a candle with the family. These activities are ways members of the Knights of Columbus promote Advent and the Keep Christ in Christmas program.
Keeping Christ in Christmas is an opportunity Knights revel in because it is an opportunity of shifting peoples’ preoccupation with materialism during a commercialized holiday to spreading the light of Christ and the spirit of giving within the family, council, parish and community. Knights have emphasized this since its founding to the current Advent season.
At the turn of the 20th century, Knights in Baltimore hosted a Santa Claus Party for orphans, giving them not only entertainment for the evening, but also providing an opportunity for siblings to reunite after months of separation in different orphanages.
Last year, the Father James B. Heary Council 7239 in Madison Heights, Mich., hosted five Christmas parties for people with intellectual disabilities and handed out more than 200 gifts to children, as well as coats. Meanwhile, the St. Paul Council 5576 in Makati City, Philippines went Christmas caroling to raise funds in support of the council’s charity projects and activities within the church and community.
This year, Knights such as the St. Anne Council in Morinville, Alberta, are coordinating the collection of more than 100 hampers containing food, children’s toys and gifts that will then be distributed to needy families in the community.
In addition, Knights sponsor simple reenactments of the story of Christ’s birth through the “Journey to the Inn” tradition, as well as the “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest. Both initiatives spur children’s creativity and participation in the season, while bringing an understanding to the true, spiritual meaning of Christmas.
Meanwhile, many councils, including the Supreme Council in New Haven, Conn., annually collect clothing and food, and sponsor toy drives, all for neighbors in need. Others solemnly light and bless Christmas trees at their parishes or an approved public location.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus preached that secret, unrequited giving is an obligation. We must “share with him who has none.” Since its founding, Knights around the world have exemplified these teachings, especially around Christmas.
Such giving reveals the underlying truth: that faith with works is alive. It is innate in every Knight to apply their faith, to put it into action, because every man, woman and child is a brother and sister of God. By selflessly donating their time and money to such humanitarian needs, the Knights show that Christ’s love is constant and that it is here to stay, even after the Christmas season.
Have a wonderful Advent.
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To comment, reach out to, Andrew.Fowler@kofc.org