December is the month of Advent and the feast of Christmas. With each week measured out like the candles on an Advent wreath, we would do well to savor the advice of the saints about how to reflect God’s light to the world.
Five saints of December reflect the importance of reflecting God’s light, and they encourage us to do the same. May we turn to their words the next time we need a good reminder! So spend some time with an energetic missionary, a present-giving Bishop who puts the “Santa” (saint) in Santa Claus, a martyr who bears light, a defender of the faith, and a beloved apostle. They all have something powerful to teach and can help make our Advent holier!
Born in Spain, St. Francis Xavier was one of the first Jesuits, and he captured the founding spirit of the Jesuits in the most authentic way: with a desire to evangelize the world and teach “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
This saint’s energy and zeal for God led him to establish missions in India, Japan, Ceylon and Malacca in only 10 years. He is a patron saint of the missions and is known as the greatest, most energetic missionary since St. Paul. Here is a novena to St. Francis Xavier.
In his own words:
“It is impossible to find a saint who did not take the two Ps seriously: prayer and penance.”
This is a great reminder that in the season of Advent along with getting the house ready and buying presents to give on Christmas morning … we must not forget it is also a time of prayer and penance!
December 6 – St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas was very wealthy when his parents died, and he wished to give glory to God through this wealth. He is famous for giving gifts of gold to the poor and unfortunate by throwing it through the windows of their houses at night and withdrawing under the cover of darkness so as not to inspire praise. When he was discovered as the secret benefactor, he begged a promise of silence on the matter until after his death. St. Nicholas is the true Santa, the saint who gave to remind people of Gods giving, out of love. Nicholas became Bishop of Myrna, renowned for his humility. Here is a novena to St. Nicholas.
In his own words:
“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic Gods giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”
During this season of giving, this is a great reminder of the importance of giving the glory to God when we ourselves give.
December 13 – St. Lucy
St. Lucy consecrated herself to Christ at a tender age, but her mother set about arranging a marriage for her. St. Lucy’s mother grew ill and received a cure after venerating St. Agatha’s relics. This miracle made St. Lucy’s mother reconsider her life and dedicate herself to distributing the wealth of their family to the poor. Lucy’s fiance became enraged at this loss of prospective fortune and denounced Lucy before the governor. Lucy was arrested and died a chaste martyr. The name Lucy means “light,” and she is the patron saint of the blind. Here is a novena to St. Lucy.
In the words of St. Lucy:
“Those whose hearts are pure are temples of the Holy Spirit.”
St. Lucy is honored through traditional celebrations on her feast day. As we string lights along our homes this season, or light the candles at our table, let us counter-culturally ponder the pure light of living chastity according to our state in life.
December 21 – St. Peter Canisius
A Dutch Jesuit priest and Doctor of the Church, St. Peter Canisius wrote works that were translated into 12 languages. He defended the Catholic faith during the schism that led to the split of the church into Protestantism. Through his work, St. Peter Canisius restored the Catholic Church in Germany. Here is a novena to St. Peter Canisius, the courageous defender of the faith.
In the words of St. Peter Canisius:
“What is charity? The virtue infused by God, by which God is loved for his own sake, and our neighbor for God’s sake.”
During this season so famous for inspiring works of charity, the words of St. Peter Canisius are a stirring reminder of why we love and why we give.
December 27 – St. John the Evangelist (died 99 AD)
St. John the Evangelist is also known as St. John the Beloved. He is the apostle who reclined at the Last Supper with his head against the heart of Our Lord and he was one of the three chosen to witness both the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. One of the “Sons of Thunder,” he was the brother of St. James the Greater.
His poetic writings are some of the greatest luminaries of Scripture. At this time celebrating Christ’s Incarnation, let us recall the beginning of his Gospel. Here is a novena to St. John the Beloved.
In the words of St. John:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:1-5)
This Advent, let us be reminded that our faith will be our light in any darkness as we trust in Christ, the Light of the World.
Holy saints of December, as we seek and savor your words of wisdom, pray for us!