The Advent season is a special part of the year where we all prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary. It’s a joyful time for reflecting on the gifts that God has given us and preparing ourselves for the wonderful gifts we’ve yet to receive. We hope these Catholic Christmas stories from our seminarians help to remind you of the merry reason for the season!

Catholic Christmas Stories

Catholic Christmas stories and scripture carry a special meaning to all of the faithful. Our seminarians were generous enough to share a few of their favorite stories and the impact these stories have had on their faith and lives.

“My favorite Christmas story is about how Mary and Joseph were trying to find a place to stay in Bethlehem but there was no room for them until they were eventually given a manger to have their child, Jesus, be born in.

When I was a kid, I watched these cartoon bible stories, which included the story of the birth of Jesus. As I watched them, I could feel the sense of desperation that Mary and Joseph had in finding a place to stay in. And then the gratitude and relief that they experience once they find a place in a simple manger where the most important birth of all was going to happen. This story helps remind me of the importance of trusting and hoping in God that He will always take care of us and give us more than we need or ask for.”

— Br. Jay-Ar San Juan, OMV

“My favorite Christmas story is Caryll Houselander’s The Reed of God. The book reveals Mary to be more real as a sister and a friend than the typical Christmas displays. I read the book yearly.”

— Deacon Jonas Verdeflor, OMV

“My favorite Christmas story is St. Joseph’s role. It shows the character of St. Joseph being a God fearing man and his willingness to participate in God’s loving plan in his life.”

— Miggo Roque, OMV Postulant

“My favorite part of the Christmas story is the poverty in which Jesus was born. The stable in which Jesus was born was likely dirty, and smelly, and entirely unfitting for a king.

A few years ago right at Christmas I was in a place of desolation, and felt like my heart was just like that stable. But after receiving Communion, the Infant Jesus settled into my heart and made me understand he was glad to be there, just like he was glad to be born in a stable.

Dorothy Day said, ‘I’m so glad that Jesus was born in a stable. Because my soul is so much like a stable. It is poor and in unsatisfactory condition because of guilt, falsehoods, inadequacies and sin. Yet I believe that if Jesus can be born in a stable, maybe he can also be born in me.’ That was the grace I received in that Communion, and it’s continued to be a source of hope and strength for me.”

— Deacon Leland Thorpe, OMV

Christmas Traditions

Our seminarians also shared their favorite Christmas traditions with their families and loved ones and a photo that reminds them of this special time of year. They range from a traditional Novena of Masses in the Philippines to celebratory family feasts in the United States.

Br. Jay-Ar enjoying Christmas festivities

“It’s definitely the Simbang Gabi, which is a Filipino 9-day novena of Masses leading up to Christmas day. My family and I have been attending these since I was a kid. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition for 3 reasons:

1. I love it because it does help instill this sense that Christmas day is approaching and so we have to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord

2. In addition to the Mass, there is usually a fellowship after Mass with food, and it’s a nice way for everyone to get together and build up the community

3. It really nurtured my love for the Mass because while novenas are typically unique prayers that are said for nine days, the Simbang Gabi is simply the Mass itself, the most important form of prayer that we have in our Church where we can receive the Lord Himself.”

Br. Jay-Ar San Juan, OMV
Br. Jonas and his sister Liza at a Christmas party in 2014

“My favorite Christmas tradition is to enjoy a good meal with family and friends.”

Deacon Jonas Verdeflor, OMV
Miggo and his siblings on a roller coaster

“My favorite Christmas tradition is going to Simbang Gabi masses (pre-dawn novena masses before Christmas) with my family.”

Miggo Roque, OMV Postulant
Br. Leland selecting a tree for St. Mary's in Alton, IL, with Fr. Jeremy Paulin and Fr. Paul Nguyen.

“My family loves to eat! We always lay out a beautiful spread of traditional Scandinavian food on Christmas Day. I love the feeling of being connected with past generations as we feast on the same foods they ate on Christmases past.”

Deacon Leland Thorpe, OMV

Remembering these Christmas stories and traditions has brought to mind lots of happy memories to give thanks for. We wish you and yours a joyful Advent season and a very merry Christmas! If you’re looking for virtual Mass celebrations, we invite you to celebrate with our community.

Do you have a favorite Catholic Christmas story or scripture that you connect with? What about a holiday tradition you share with loved ones each Advent or Christmas? We’d love to hear it! Share with our community in the comments below.

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