Merry Christmas from our students!
The Council of Catholic School Cooperative Clubs sponsors the annual Keep Christ in Christmas poster, essay and poetry contest.
The Office of Catholic Schools selected winners in three divisions: grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. The contest is promoted by the Christ in Christmas Committee, which coordinates the placement of “Keep Christ in Christmas” billboards throughout the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This year, 61 billboards, including five Spanish-language boards, were put up around the metro area! To donate to the billboard cause for 2017, go to www.keepchristinchristmasnola.org.
11th grade, Mount Carmel Academy
Alexis Hornsby used two primary media to create her winning composition: Her four figures were rendered with special markers that allow artists to blend different colors; and her light-splashed brick wall was created with watercolors.
“Society keeps getting more and more secular, more and more away from Catholicism and from Christianity in general, so when I hear the phrase ‘Keep Christ in Christmas,’ I see a society neglecting to actually acknowledge that Jesus’ birth happened,” said Alexis of the inspiration behind her piece.
To illustrate Jesus’ triumph over this secularism, the 17-year-old chose to present the Holy Family as a contemporary homeless family receiving a visit from a stranger. She incorporated modern touches such as knitted caps for the heads of Mary and Joseph, knee socks for Mary and a light fixture that one might see in an alley. “I did (the light fixture) as a reference to the Star of David,” Alexis explained. Even though a homeless Holy Family was her artistic motivation, Alexis said she hopes viewers will interpret the scene any way they wish, including speculating about the identity of the figure in Santa Claus attire.
The crouching woman is either taking the blue-swaddled Baby Jesus from Mary – or handing him to her. “You could see it as moments after Mary gave birth or days after the birth, and this woman just happened to be walking by, saw a baby in the cold and wanted to help,” Alexis said. “I wanted to show that even someone we might connect with the secular side of Christmas – someone who is out there shopping – can still help Mary and Joseph.”
This is the second time Alexis’ art has been publicly recognized. As a St. Pius X sixth grader, she took second place in a local art contest sponsored by Emergency Number 9-1-1.
3rd grade, St. Pius X School
Marianne Kononchek, 8, was inspired by modern technology when she sat down to brainstorm her winning image and slogan. “I drew the selfie on my poster to show that we should see Jesus in everyone, especially ourselves,” Marianne explained. “My favorite part is my drawing of Jesus!”
7th grade, St. Christopher School
Jenna Thomas said the play on words that forms the central idea of her colored-pencil composition came out of her alarm over increasing violence throughout the world. “I realized now, at this time of Advent, people need to start working together. We should be doing better,” said Jenna, 13, adding that her slogan is also a message of hope. “If we start coming together now – this Advent – our actions have the power to influence our world for years to come,” Jenna said.
A very simple thing
Lila Sekinger, 3rd grade
St. Mary Magdalen School
To keep Christ in Christmas,
It’s a very simple thing.
Love your neighbor, praise God,
And let your heart sing.
To those who are lonely,
And to those who need care,
Make sure to let them know
You will always be there.
Now you can see,
Keeping Christ in Christmas is an easy thing to do.
It’s time to make good choices.
And it’s all up to you!
Give cheer to the sick
Brianna Killian, 4th grade
St. Benilde School
Sometimes we forget the real meaning of Christmas. We often forget it is about Jesus’ birthday and not about Santa Claus and presents.
One way we can remember it is Jesus’ birthday is by starting special family traditions. For example, my family sets up a nativity scene and goes to Mass on Christmas Eve before we go to any Christmas parties.
A nativity scene is basically a model of the animal loft in which Jesus was born. You can set one up at the beginning of Advent, and on Christmas morning you can put a little Jesus figurine in the trough that Jesus was placed in. This is the perfect time to sing happy birthday to Jesus.
The best way you could celebrate Jesus’ birthday is by going to Mass. Going to Mass is a great way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, especially if you are Catholic, because you actually receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Another nice way to truly celebrate Christmas is by going to visit sick people and trying to cheer them up by singing Christmas carols to them. Making lonely people feel special and loved is like giving Jesus a gift because it is something he would like for us to do.
You should also set up an advent wreath and light one of the candles each week until all four candles are lit. While the candles are lit, you should say a prayer thanking God for everything you are thankful for. Lighting an Advent wreath is a good way to remember what we are waiting for – Jesus’ birth.
These are some of the ways you can remember what Christmas is really about.
Raleigh Lusignan, 6th grade
St. Edward the Confessor School
Look at you.
wrapped in cloth,
Look at you.
In a manger,
In your bed.
Where you lay,
Your little head.
It’s where you lay,
It’s where you sleep,
With some hay,
Down in a heap.
Look at you.
Coming into the world,
To reign anew.
Lillian Stricker, 6th grade
St. Rita School, Harahan
What does Keep Christ in Christmas mean?
First, for me, it means saying the entire word C-H-R-I-S-T-mas, and not abbreviating it with an X.
When people take the word CHRIST out of Christmas, they are essentially removing Jesus from Christmas. If we say aloud the entire word, Christmas, we can remember each and every time that Jesus in the whole reason for the Christmas holiday.
In addition, my family and I keep Christ in Christmas by decorating with religious items. We set up a nativity scene both indoors and outdoors and always incorporate Jesus in our Christmas tree with a star on top. This reminds us of the star that the three kings followed to get to Jesus to give him the myrrh, gold and frankincense.
We also love to listen to religious Christmas music while decorating the house. We love to spend time with our relatives by celebrating Jesus Christ over a meal on Christmas Eve and then attending Midnight Mass to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
After my family and I open our presents on Christmas day, we like to sit outside and drink hot chocolate while enjoying the cool Christmas weather.
During the day we have a Christmas feast with just my parents and siblings, and we never forget to say our prayers.
We love to end the Christmas holiday by watching numerous Christmas movies in our living room as one big family. Lastly, we try to incorporate the Christmas spirit throughout the entire year by going through our clothing that doesn’t fit us anymore and giving it away.
Andrew Richardson, 11th grade
Brother Martin High School
We seem to forget what this
holiday is about.
We run around in a hurry; we
scream and we shout.
Most of us are guilty, all of us
So self-consumed we forget to
pray at Christmas dinners.
But He was born on the
Twenty-Fifth of December
I hope we can all take some
time to remember
The people He saved, the love
that He brought,
The sins He forgave,
the lessons He taught.
Instead of charity, and helping
those in need,
We waste our money on
presents and greed.
We see each other with
envy and complain,
But in Jesus’ eyes we are
all the same.
So when the clock strikes Twelve
And you are resting in bed,
Say a prayer to yourselves,
For He was born and is not dead.
A better definition
Caitlyn Reisgen, 11th grade
Archbishop Chapelle High School
If one were to search for the definition of the word “Christmas” in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, it would read: “A Christian holiday that is celebrated on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ or the period of time that comes before and after this holiday.”
This definition of Christmas is accurate. However, if one were to go online and search the definition, one would receive a different answer. Urban Dictionary provides a universal perspective on Christmas by defining it as “the celebration of the birth of commercialism. … Oh, yeah, and Jesus.”
The joyous holiday of Christmas has been tainted with the materialism of today’s world. When one thinks of Christmas, the first thought that comes to mind is not the celebration of the birth of the Lord and our Savior, Jesus Christ, but the amount of lavish gifts he or she will receive and give.
These materialistic thoughts are brought on by the advertising companies broadcasting Black Friday sales and the latest gifts and gadgets for Christmas.
Now, the act of giving gifts for Christmas is not harmful in any way. The giving of gifts during Christmas is symbolic of the gifts that the Three Wise Men had granted to Jesus. Giving gifts on Christmas is a gracious act, yet it is important to remember that presents are not the real reason for Christmas – Jesus Christ is.
Christmas is a time meant to be spent with family. Christmas is a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time for great joy. Lastly, Christmas is a time to thank God and others for all they have done for us.
It’s time to celebrate the Christ in Christmas, not the gifts of Christmas.