As I was watching the news on October 25, I was shocked to see a Christmas shopping commercial. “It’s not even Halloween yet!” I said aloud. And I was grateful to recall that as Daughters of Charity, we sing the Christmas Novena each year during the nine days preceding the feast. I sighed and wished that everyone could approach Christmas Eve humming, “The Lord, the King who is to come! Come let us adore Him!”
The Christmas Novena has been a tradition within the Vincentian and Daughters of Charity communities since 1720 when an Italian priest, Carlo Antonio Vachetta, arranged the music for it based on a novena that had been prayed in Italy for many centuries. Originally sung in Latin, the novena was translated to English in the United States around 1964.
I personally love the Christmas Novena and the opportunity to reflect on the ancient prophecies pointing to God’s promised Savior. Singing/praying helps to keep the meaning of Advent and Christmas in perspective. Some of its magic is pensive, highlighting the waiting and the longing for the Savior. Other pieces are joyful, giving expression to the hope, the love, the expectation of the season. The Christmas Novena is just one of the blessings of being a Daughter of Charity. There is so much about living in commit that helps keep the distractions of the secular culture in perspective.
Please understand that I am not a Grinch. I do not want to steal the toys, gifts, and external trimmings of Christmas that bring such joy to children of all ages. I just want to remind myself and help other to remember and appreciate the most important joy of Christmas: Jesus, our Lord and King!
This year, we invite you to join us in the Christmas Novena! You can prepare for Day 1 here.
Written by Sister Mary Frate, D.C. and Sister Elizabeth Riddell, D.C.