Christmas Novena: The Nine Prayers Awaiting Christmas

Christmas Novena: The Nine Prayers Awaiting Christmas

From 16 to 24 December, during those nine days that precede Christmas, believers wait for the birth of Jesus. Let’s find out how to prepare with the Christmas Novena nine prayers.

The last days before Christmas are days of preparations: you buy the last gifts and get ahead with Christmas lunches and dinners. We have already given you some advice on how to set up your nativity scene and decorate the tree; in this article, we talk about how to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Child Jesus with the Christmas Novena.

Christmas tree

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Novena Christmas: what it is

Like many Novenas, it is an unofficial prayer, a “pious exercise” that has entered the tradition of the faithful. Also known as the Novena to the Baby Jesus, the Christmas Novena consists of the recitation of some prayers (the forms and texts may vary, as there is no real canonical form) recited from 16 to 24 December, the nine days preceding Christmas.

The birth of baby Jesus

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The origin of the Christmas Novena is traditionally attributed to the Vincentian missionaries of Turin. It is thought that for the first time, it was recited in 1720, in the church of the Immaculate next to the boarding school that the missionaries used for the formation of the clergy. The texts were originally in Latin and were sung with a Gregorian melody; subsequently, after the Second Vatican Council, translations into several languages were disseminated. The author to whom the texts are attributed is Father Carlo Antonio Vacchetta, “master of sacred ceremonies and prefect of the church and of singing” in the Vincentian community.

The spread of the Novena is also due to Gabriella Marolles delle Lanze, Marquise of Caluso. The woman moved to Turin, near the house of the Vincentians, after her second marriage to the Marquis of Salluzzo. He became so attached to this good practice that in his will he asked to keep the recitation of the Novena every year.

What it means

The Novena prayers help the faithful prepare for the coming of Jesus. Reference is made to the texts of the Old Testament that herald the arrival of the Saviour and the characteristics of baby Jesus are underlined: the light, peace and justice he brings to the world. Thanks to this Novena, children and adults can, in the last days before Christmas, prepare their hearts and spirits for the birth of Christ.