Today being the 16th of December calls to mind a tradition we had as seminarians in Perryville, MO. It was the beginning of the Christmas Novena. This was a special time of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. It was a beautiful collection of prayers said and sung each day until Christmas. This novena was designed by a Vincentian priest in Italy and was translated from the Latin in 1964. It was something we looked forward to because of the richness of the music and the closeness of Christmas. It is still conducted each year in Perryville at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. This was our seminary church back in the day. So these nine days can be a prayerful preparation for our hearts to be a welcome inn for Jesus at Christmas.
If you pass by a church with an outdoor nativity setting during this time, you will see all the figures awaiting the birth. There is no manger of Christ child yet. Just like the Novena, we await the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Let this be a time of joyful celebration and let the sounds of Christmas best prepare us just like the Novena does.