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December 24, 2023 – Fourth Sunday of Advent & Christmas

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This week our theme is “Joy to the World”/ “Alegría para el mundo  based on Luke 1:26-38 / Luca 1:26-38 for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Matthew 1:1-25 / Mateo 1:1-25 for Christmas Eve Masses.


Opening Prayer: 

Gather around your family prayer space. Light all 4 candles on your Advent wreath today. On Christmas Day, some people add a white candle to the center for Jesus, the Light of the World. All pray the Sign of the Cross

Lord, our God, in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, you have become one of us. During this Christmas season, help us to recognize your presence in the Holy Child in the manger, in the sacraments of the Church, and in the people around; in family, friends and strangers, knowing that Christ was born for all and that we are all children of God. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for December is The Apostles’ Creed.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. (The Apostles’ Creed is a profession of faith that preceded the Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Apostles’ Creed is usually prayed when we begin the Rosary)

Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel for December 24, Fourth Sunday of Advent or Christmas Eve aloud.

Things to talk about:

  • Why does the angel say “Do not be afraid” to Mary? Do you think she was scared?
  • What would it be like to meet an angel? 
  • The angel tells Mary, “Nothing is impossible for God.” Have you seen or heard of God doing something that seemed impossible?
  • Have each person tell their favorite part of the Christmas story and explain why.
  • If you could be one character in the Christmas story, who would you be and why?

Things to do:

  • Listen closely to the words of the angel Gabriel in today’s Gospel. The words he uses to greet Mary are the beginning of a common prayer we pray. Which one is it?
  • Christmas Lights Road Trip – one evening, drive around town or your neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. See how many homes have something from our Catholic faith in their display (Nativity scene, statue of Mary, etc.). Play Christmas music while you drive and find the house with your favorite display. Remember the Christmas season lasts from Christmas Eve until the Baptism of Jesus. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is observed on the Sunday after January 6, so this year the date is January 7. Does it look like most are still celebrating?
  • Have your family take a census. Click Here.
  • Read about St. Stephen who boldly proclaimed Jesus and the truth of the Gospel. Do you have the courage to proclaim Jesus to others? Why or why not?
  • If you read this digital post, please type Joy to the World in the comments below. Thanks.

Closing Prayer

Pray this traditional litany (adapted) together this evening. It is a great reminder of the richness of our Catholic tradition and how God uses Mary in so many ways to be close to us. For this prayer, dad (or mom) leads and everyone else says the responses, which are in bold.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us. Christ graciously hear us. God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us. Mother of the Church, pray for us. Mother of our Savior, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us. Queen of Apostles, pray for us.. Queen of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us. Queen assumed into heaven, pray for us.
Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us. Queen of families, pray for us.
Queen of peace. pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Catholic Insights

On the fourth Sunday of Advent we hear the story of the Annunciation again. By her trust in God, Mary’s “Yes” changed the world. The Messiah was prophesied to come from the family of David. There had not been a king from David’s line for over 500 years. Through Mary, the Savior will be born.

The Christmas Gospel begins with a historical context for the story of Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph travel from Galilee to Bethlehem for the census. Joseph comes from the house of David.

We are filled with joy because God chose to become one like us. All are invited to be part of the Kingdom of God through belief in Christ. God wants us all to live in the Kingdom forever.


Stephen is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as being one of the first deacons of the Catholic Church (See Acts 6-8). He was ordained to assist the apostles in their work of preaching, administration, and works of mercy. He boldly proclaimed the name of Jesus Christ and used his rhetorical gifts to preach the truth of the Gospel. His bold preaching brought him many enemies, and he was stoned to death in the streets of Jerusalem. He is called the “proto-martyr” because this is the first account in Scripture of a believer in Christ being killed for professing that Jesus is the Messiah. We celebrate his feast day immediately after Christmas (December 26) as a reminder that in the midst of the joy of Christmas, Jesus calls us to follow him completely, knowing that it could even cost us our lives.

Did you know? … that Gabriel is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible? Michael is mentioned in Daniel, Jude and Revelations. Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit. Gabriel is best known for the Annunciation but appears also including to John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah.

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