Roman Catholics traditionally observe the month of December as Divine Infancy Month in honor of the Infant Jesus, “the center of all preparations and celebrations during the Christmas Season.”
Catholic Church leaders remind the faithful “to make Christ the center of all spiritual and material preparations during the holiday season, which should be a time of quiet preparation for the celebration of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.
“Festivities and all forms of celebration should focus on honoring, glorifying, and adoring Jesus in His Divine Childhood,” Church officials stressed.
The Church calls on the faithful to pray the novena to the Infant Jesus, to reflect, offer sacrifices and do charity work, do penance and almsgiving, and to remember the promise of His Divine Infancy, “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.”
The observance of Divine Infancy Month recalls the first Christmas more than 2,000 years ago when Jesus humbled Himself and became completely human while remaining completely divine. Devotion to the Infant Jesus began in the small town of Bethlehem, where the shepherds and the Three Wise Men paid homage to the newborn Holy Child lying in the manger.
The observance also highlights the significance of the Nativity Scene or “Belen,” a reminder that “Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, is the core of man’s salvation.”
In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi, the revered founder of the Franciscan Order, set up the first known Nativity Scene in Greccio, Italy, which, to this day, remains as a popular Christmas fixture in homes, churches, offices, and public places around the world.
In the country, devotion to the Infant Jesus is year-round with almost every home adorned with an image of the Santo Nino. Many festivities are held in honor of the Child Jesus, particularly during the month of January, which is observed as the Month of the Holy Child.
The third Sunday of January is traditionally observed in the Philippines as the Feast of the Santo Nino and is observed with festive rites, parades and street dances.
As the world marks a third Christmas in a pandemic, Church leaders urge the faithful “to focus more on the spiritual significance of Christmas.”