What is the true Catholic meaning of Christmas?

Christmas is an incredibly special time for the Catholic Church. This period signifies the birth of the saviour, Jesus Christ. Every year, the festive season takes on a new level of joyful yet frantic activity. For many families, lots of preparation goes into making a perfect celebration but we should also remember to appreciate the real meaning of Christmas.

“Christ is the reason for the season”

When people question the real meaning of Christmas, they think of the birth of Jesus Christ in a manger. Surrounded by family, friends and neighbours, the purpose of Christmastime is often misunderstood but it’s important to think about the relationship between Jesus and God. Remember the saying, “Christ is the reason for the season” as we learn the importance of celebrating his birth appropriately.

Ways to celebrate

Parts of the world experience the seasons at different times, but many religious celebrations remain similar or the same, including Christmas. It’s natural to eagerly await Christmas morning, with all the glamour and glitter beneath the tree and the tearing open of presents followed by a festive feast. But are we doing all we can to celebrate Jesus’ birth? Each year, in the run up to Christmas Day, we do our best to remind our students of why Christmas is so special and that there is more to 25th December than unwrapping presents.

Here are some ways that you can celebrate:


When you hear the words ‘Christmas advent’, it’s easy to think about opening a door for each morning in December and receiving a small chocolate, sweet treat or even a nativity scene. However, there is more meaning to advent for those of the Catholic faith. This period starts on the Sunday nearest to 30th November and ends on the fourth Sunday before 25th December. Essentially, ‘advent’ means ‘coming’ and is a time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Traditionally, a candle is lit every Sunday during the four weeks.

The gift of giving

Inspired by the Three Wise Men, families, friends and neighbours often give one another gifts at Christmas. But it’s important to remember that it’s not all about how many presents you unwrap when you wake up or how expensive they are, for that matter. Gift giving can spread joy, but the most meaningful gifts often cost nothing, are handmade or can be anything as simple as little acts of kindness. For example, you could donate to your local food bank, or provide hot drinks, hats, gloves and scarves for the homeless when you’re out shopping.

Enjoy watching a nativity

Lastly, getting into the festive spirit and learning the true meaning of Christmas is as easy as going to watch The Nativity at your school or local Church! Each scene tells the story of Jesus’ birth and how Mary and Joseph followed The Star of Bethlehem to find a resting place, where the newborn King was welcomed to the world for the very first time. The Nativity reminds us to be thankful for everything that we have and spread good cheer!

Learn about Catholic life at St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy here or email office@smwca.org.uk