The Christmas Novena is a Catholic tradition with religious roots that over time has also acquired a remarkable social significance, as it creates a space for deepening relationships with family and friends.
December 16 Christmas Novena Begins
Fray Fernando de Jess Larrea wrote the Christmas Novena used in Colombia at the request of Clemencia de Jess Caycedo Velez, founder of the Colegio La Esperanza in Bogota.
From December 16 to 24, nine days are dedicated to prayer in remembrance of the longing of the Christian faith for the Messiah, which was fulfilled when the baby Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem.
The custom calls for the gathering of family and friends around a replica of the humble house where the son of God was born and invites the guests to a sharing in which, in the end, the local gastronomy is showcased.
According to the priests, the Christmas Novena encourages people to live deeply and intensely in their preparation for the imminent great feast of the birth of the Savior.
Each day’s liturgy offers opportunities for reflection and prayer while tracing a wise path for the encounter with the imminent Lord.
- Prayer to begin
- Prayer for the family
- Prayer to Our Lady
- Prayer to St. Joseph
- Meditate for the day
- Prayer to the Child God
Christmas Novena Day 1
Meditation of the day (reconciliation)
Let us strengthen our values so that Christmas will be what it should be; a feast dedicated to reconciliation.
Dedicated to the generous and understanding forgiveness that we will learn from a compassionate God. With the forgiveness of the Holy Spirit, we can be reconciled with God and with our brothers and walk in a new life. This is the good news that St. Paul exclaimed in his letters, as we read in his epistle to Romans 5. 1 – 11.
To live Christmas is to cancel grievances if someone has offended us and to ask for forgiveness if we have mistreated others.
Thus, from forgiveness, harmony is born and we build that peace that the angels announced in Bethlehem: peace on earth to men who love the Lord and love each other.
Human beings can hurt each other with hatred or we can be happy in a love that reconciles. And that good mission is for each one of us: to be agents of reconciliation and not of discord, to be instruments of peace and sowers of brotherhood.
Christmas Novena Day 2
Meditation of the day (understanding)
The second day was dedicated to Understanding. Understanding is a distinctive note of all true love.
We can say that the incarnation of a God who becomes man can be read in the key of that great value called understanding. It is a God who puts himself in our place, who breaks distances and shares our worries and our joys.
It is thanks to this understanding love of a father God that we are children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves. God, as St. John affirms, shows us the greatness of his love and calls us to live as his children. Read the first letter of John 3, 1 – 10. If we truly act as children of God we do not imitate Cain but “lay down our lives for our brothers” (3:16).
With an understanding of love, we can see the reasons of others and be tolerant of their faults. If CHRISTMAS makes us understand, it is an excellent Christmas. Merry Christmas is learning to put ourselves in the place of others.
Christmas Novena Day 3
Meditation of the day (respect)
The third day is dedicated to respecting.
A quality of love that moves us to accept others as they are. Thanks to this respect we value the great dignity of every human person made in the image and likeness of God, even if that person is mistaken.
Respect is a source of harmony because it encourages us to value differences, as a painter does with colors or a musician does with notes or rhythms. Respectful love prevents us from judging others, manipulating them, or wanting to mold them to our size.
Whenever I think of respect I see Jesus conversing kindly with the Samaritan woman, as narrated by St. John in chapter four of his Gospel. It is a dialogue without reproach, without condemnation and in which shines the light of a delicate tolerance.
Jesus does not approve of the woman not living with her husband, but instead of judging her, he congratulates her for her sincerity. He acts as a good shepherd and teaches us to be respectful if we want to understand each other.
Christmas Novena Day 4
Meditation of the day (sincerity)
The fourth day is dedicated to sincerity.
A quality without which love cannot subsist, since there is no love where there is a lie. To love is to walk in truth, without masks, without the weight of hypocrisy and with the strength of integrity.
Only in truth are we free as Jesus Christ announced: John 8, 32. Only on the firm rock of truth can a relationship be sustained in crises and problems. With sincerity, we gain trust and with trust, we come to understanding and unity.
Love teaches us not to act like the selfish and the arrogant who believe that their truth is the truth. If Christmas brings us closer to the truth, it is a good Christmas: it is a feast in which we welcome Jesus as the true light that comes into this world: John 1, 9.
The true light leads us away from darkness and moves us to accept God as a way, truth and life. May our love always be enlightened by truth, so that it is also favored by the trust.
Christmas Novena Day 5
Meditation of the day (dialogue)
The fifth day is dedicated to dialogue.
The whole Bible is a loving and salvific dialogue of God with mankind. A dialogue that reaches its culmination and fullness when the word of God, who is his Son, becomes flesh, becomes man, as St. John narrates in the first chapter of his Gospel.
A dialogue of God supported by sincerity, strengthened by respect and enriched by understanding, is what we need in all our relationships. A dialogue in which we daily “clothe ourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”. Colossians 3:12.
The serene dialogue that springs from sincere love and a peaceful soul are the best gift we can give each other in December. In this way, we prevent our home from being an empty place of affection in which we are scattered like strangers under the same roof.
God grants us all the gift of communicating without offenses, without judgments, without haughtiness and I know with appreciation that generates welcome and mutual acceptance.
Christmas Novena Day 6
Meditation of the day (simplicity)
Sixth day to value simplicity.
Simplicity is the virtue of great souls and noble persons. Simplicity was the adornment of Mary of Nazareth as she proclaims in her Magnificat song. “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior because he has looked upon the lowliness of his handmaid” Luke 1, 47 – 48.
Christmas is a good time to banish pride and become aware of the many evils that pride brings. No virtue brings us so close to others as simplicity and no defect distances us so much as arrogance. Love reigns only in humble hearts, capable of recognizing their limitations and forgiving their haughtiness.
It is thanks to humility that we act with gentleness, without thinking we are better than anyone else, imitating the simplicity of a God who “emptied himself and took the form of a servant” Philippians 2:6-11.
Growing in simplicity is a wonderful gift for our relationships. Let us remember that in littleness is true greatness and that pride destroys love.
Christmas Novena Day 7
Meditation of the day (generosity)
Seventh-day to grow in generosity.
It is the capacity to give with unselfishness where love wins the race against selfishness. It is in the generous giving of ourselves that we show the depth of a love that does not exhaust itself in words.
And that is what we celebrate at Christmas: the unparalleled gesture of a God who gives himself. St. Paul emphasizes it: “pride also in generosity… for you know the generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ who, though he was rich, yet for your sake became poor so that you might be enriched by his poverty”.
It is a biblical passage in which the apostle invites the Corinthians to share their goods with the needy. 2Cor 8, 7 – 15. We know how to love when we know how to share, we know how to love when we give the best of ourselves instead of just giving things.
So let us make the best decision: to give love, affection, tenderness and forgiveness; to give time and to give joy and hope. These are the gifts that are worth the most and do not cost money. Let us give love, as St. John of the Cross said: where there is no love, put love and you will get love.
Christmas Novena Day 8
Meditation of the day (faith)
The eighth day to strengthen faith.
A faith that is firm when a friendly relationship with the Lord is born. An authentic faith is confirmed with good works so that religion is not only of prayers, rites and traditions.
We need to cultivate faith with the Bible, prayer and religious practice because faith is our best support in a crisis. We need great faith in ourselves, in God and others. A faith without hesitation as Jesus wanted: Mark 11. 23.
A faith that illuminates love with the strength of trust, since “love believes all things”. 1 Cor 13:7. Faith is the strength of life and without it, we are adrift. Publius Siro was right when he said: he who has lost his faith has nothing more to lose.
How good it is that we take care of our faith as one takes care of a treasure! How good it is that we can be greeted like Our Lady: “Blessed are you who have believed”. Lk 1:45.
Christmas Novena Day 9
Meditation of the day (hope and love)
The ninth day to enliven hope and love.
Love and hope always go hand in hand with faith. That is why in his hymn to love St. Paul shows us that love believes without limits and hopes without limits. 1 Cor 13:7.
A living faith, a love without limits and a firm hope are the incense, the gold and the myrrh that give us the courage to live and the courage not to lose heart. It is thanks to love that we dream of high ideals and it is thanks to hope that we attain them.
Love and hope are the wings that lift us to greatness, despite obstacles and disappointments.
If we love God, love ourselves and love others, we can achieve what St. Peter suggests in his first letter: “Always be ready to give a reason for your hope. With gentleness, respect and a good conscience.” 3, 15 – 16.
If we light the flame of hope and the fire of love, its radiant light will shine in the new year after the lights of Christmas are extinguished.
Prayer to begin
Most gracious God of infinite charity, who hast loved us so much and hast given us in thy Son the best pledge of thy love, so that, incarnate and made our brother in the womb of the Virgin, he might be born in a manger for our health and remedy; we thank thee for so immense a benefit.
In return we offer you, Lord, our sincere effort to make this world of yours and ours a more just world, more faithful to the great commandment to love one another as brothers and sisters. Grant us, Lord, your help to achieve this.
We ask you that this Christmas, a feast of peace and joy, maybe for our community a stimulus so that, living as brothers, we may seek more and more the ways of truth, justice, love and peace. Amen.
Prayer for the family
Lord, make our home a place of your love. Let there be no injury for you give us understanding. Let there be no bitterness for you bless us. Let there be no selfishness for you to encourage us. Let there be no bitterness for you give us forgiveness.
May there be no abandonment because you are with us. May we know how to march towards you in your daily life. May each morning dawn one more day of surrender and sacrifice. May each night find us with more love.
Lord, make of our lives, which you wanted to unite, a page full of you. Lord, make of our children what you long for, help us to educate them and guide them along your path. May we strive for mutual support. May we make love a reason to love you more.
When the great day dawns to meet you, may we find ourselves united forever in you.
Prayer to Our Lady
Sovereign Mary, we pray for all the families of our country; make every home in our country and the world a source of understanding, of tenderness, of true family life.
May these Christmas celebrations, which gather us around the manger where your Son was born, also unite us in love, make us forget the offenses and give us the simplicity to recognize the mistakes we have made.
Mother of God and our Mother, intercede for us. Amen.
Prayer to St. Joseph
Most Holy Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and adoptive father of the Lord, you were chosen to act as a father in the home of Nazareth.
Help the fathers of families; may they always be in their homes the image of the heavenly father, after your example; may they fulfill fully the great responsibility of educating and forming their children, giving them, with a continuous effort, the best of themselves.
Help the children to understand and appreciate the self-sacrificing efforts of their parents. St. Joseph, the model of husbands and fathers, intercedes for us.
(pray an Our Father)
Prayer to the Child God
Lord, Christmas is the memory of your birth among us, it is the presence of your love in our family and our society. Christmas is the certainty that the God of heaven and earth is our father, that you, Divine Child, are our brother.
May this gathering at your manger increase our faith in your goodness, may it commit us to live truly as brothers and may it give us the courage to kill hatred and sow justice and peace. O Divine Child, teach us to understand that where there is love and justice, there you are and there too is Christmas. Amen.
(pray Glory to the Father)
Sweet Jesus, my adored child, come to our souls, come, do not be so long!
– O supreme sapience of the sovereign God that You have lowered Yourself to the level of a child. O Divine Infant come to teach us the prudence that makes true sages.
Sweet Jesus my adored Child, come to our souls, come not so long!
– Child of the manger our God and Brother, you know and understand human pain; when we suffer pain and anguish may we always remember that you have saved us.
Sweet Jesus my adored Child, come to our souls, come not so long!
– O light of the east, sun of eternal rays, may we see your splendor among the darkness, Child so precious, the joy of the Christian, may the smile of your sweet lips shine forth.
Sweet Jesus my adored child, Come to our souls, Come not so long!
– King of the nations, Emmanuel, preeminent of Israel, longing, shepherd of the flock. A child who with a gentle staff do you feed, whether the sheep or the lamb.
Sweet Jesus my adored child, come to our souls, come not so long!
– Let the heavens open and rain from on high the dew, like holy watering. Come, my beautiful child, come, my God, come, my human child, shine a beautiful star, bloom a flower of the field.
Sweet Jesus, my adored child, come to our souls, come, don’t be so long!
– You became a Child in a family full of tenderness and human warmth. May the homes gathered here live the great commitment of Christian love.
Sweet Jesus, my adored Child, come to our souls, come not so long!
– Of the weak help, of the sorrowful shelter, consolation of the sad, light of the exiled. Life of my life, my adored dream, my constant friend my divine brother.
Sweet Jesus, my adored child, Come to our souls! Come, do not delay so long!
– Come before my eyes in love with you, I kiss your plants, I kiss your hands. Prostrate on the ground I stretch out my arms to you and even more than my phrases my tears tell you.
Sweet Jesus, my adored child, come to our souls, come, don’t be so long!
– Make of our homeland a great family; sow in our soil your love and your peace. Give us faith in life, give us hope and a sincere love that unites us more.
Sweet Jesus, my adored Child, come to our souls, come, do not delay so long!
– Come, our Savior for whom we sigh, come to our souls, come not so long.