Denver Catholic’s 2020 Christmas gift guide

Denver Catholic Staff

If you’re anything like us, then you can hardly believe we’re just slightly over a month away from Christmas. Although many of us have hardly left our homes this year and the days (quite literally!) seem to blend together like some weird marathon session of Groundhog Day, it certainly hasn’t slowed the passage of time.

We’re all in need of a little bit of holiday cheer, and thankfully it’s right around the corner. While it seems like everything else in world has been cancelled, it’s comforting to know that Christmas and the immense joy that Christ brought to the world cannot and will not be cancelled.

In the spirit of the season and to help spread a little bit of that joy, we present our 2020 gift guide. May your Christmas season be full of jubilation and rejuvenation!

Books

We’ve all likely been glued to our phones or a screen of some sort more than usual this year, but it’s never too late the kick the habit! Why not bury your face in a good book instead? It’s better for the brain, more enriching, and the pages don’t emit a mind-numbing blue glow. 

1. Consecration to St. Joseph by Father Donald Calloway (Marian Press), $14.95 
2. The Imitation of Mary by Father Quan Tran (Sophia Press), $17.95
3. Pray, Hope, & Don’t Worry Prayer Journal for Catholic Women: A 52-Week Guided Devotional Through Scripture and the Saints to Overcome Anxiety by Sara A. Smith (Holy Water Books), $13.95 
4. Theology of Home: Finding the Eternal in the Everyday (TAN Books), $34.95 
5. Theology of Home II: The Spiritual Art of Home Making (TAN Books), $34.95
6. Brilliant! 25 Catholic Scientists, Mathematicians, and Supersmart People by David Michael Warren (Word on Fire), $24.95 
7. Fatima: 100 Questions and Answers on the Marian Apparitions by Paul Senz (Ignatius Press), $14.95 

Clothing/Accessories 

Just because we’re Catholic doesn’t mean we have to be dressed for Sunday Mass all the time, nor does it mean we can’t wear some hip Catholic gear every once in a while. Here are just a few small Catholic businesses that are thinking outside the box when it comes to clothing and accessories. 

More Than You Realize Skyline women’s t-shirt

1. More Than You Realize (mtyrstore.org)
2. Catholic Socks & That One Sheep shirts (sockreligious.com
3. Pink Salt Riot Jewelry (pinksaltriot.com
4. Rosary Habit jewelry (rosaryhabit.com
5. Brick House in the City (brickhouseinthecity.com
6. PAL Campaign (palcampaign.com

Baby/Kids/Teen 

Look beyond the shelves of Target and Walmart when shopping for the little ones and kids in your lives. From adorable swaddles to books of the children’s and comic variety, here are a few Catholic alternatives. 

Noah’s Wooden Ark Animal Shape Sorter

1. Be A Heart Catholic baby swaddles (beaheart.com), $28 
2. Chews Life rosaries (chewslife.com), $38 
3. Custom saint peg dolls (TheCheerfulGifter Etsy shop) 
4. Noah’s Wooden Ark Animal Shape Sorter (Tender Leaf Toys), $99
5. Stories of the Saints: Bold and Inspiring Tales of Adventure, Grace and Courage by Carey Wallace (Workman Publishing), $24.95 
6. Lily Lolek: Future Saint by Katie Warner (TAN Books), $16.95 
7. The Four Gospels for Young Catholics (Pauline Books and Media), $29.95 
8. Friends Again by Karine-Marie Amiot & Violaine Costa (Magnificat), $14.99 
9. The Kingstone Bible Comic Books (Kingstone) 

Practical/Religious gifts 

While many religious gifts in the past seemed to be better suited for your grandma than your niece, that is no longer the case. Consider gifting one of these sacred gifts this Christmas season. Included are a couple of unique new Bibles, just in case yours or someone’s you know is getting a little raggedy. 

Little Rose Shop Coffee Mug

1. Monk Manual 90-planner, $38 (monkmanual.com
2. Rugged Rosaries (cordbands.com
3. The Catholic Candle Company (catholiccandlecompany.com
4. The Catholic Woodworker Crucifixes (catholicwoodworker.com
5. The Little Rose Shop: Unique Catholic prints, coffee mugs and more (thelittleroseshop.com
6. The Catholic Journaling Bible (Blessed is She), $49.95
7. The Word On Fire Bible, Vol. 1: The Gospels (Word on Fire), starts at $29.95 
8. The Augustine Bible ESV-CE (Augustine Institute), starts at $49.95 

Local stores 

It’s important to support small, local Catholic businesses, and especially so this year. Lucky for us, there are quite a few just around the block, and they have wide ranges of gifts that would be perfect for your loved ones of all ages. The best part is you can order online too! 

The Retro in Arvada

1. Bethlehem Handicrafts (bethlehemhandicrafts.com
2. Creator Mundi (creatormundi.com
3. Stargazer Fine Chocolates (stargazerfinechocolates.com
4. Gerkens Religious Supplies (gerkens.com
5. The Retro, home of Full of Grace USA and Motherboards (theretro.net

COMING UP: Five tips for reading the Word of God

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Sunday, Jan. 24 marks “The Sunday of the Word of God,” instituted by Pope Francis last year and to be held every year on the third Sunday of Ordinary Time. This may strike us as odd, as we might think to ourselves, “but isn’t the Bible read at every Sunday Mass?” Certainly so. Not only that, but every daily celebration of the Mass proclaims the Word of God.

What’s different about “The Sunday of the Word of God,” however, is that it’s not just about hearing the Bible read on Sundays. As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith notes, it “reminds us, pastors and faithful alike, of the importance and value of Sacred Scripture for the Christian life, as well as the relationship between the word of God and the liturgy: ‘As Christians, we are one people, making our pilgrim way through history, sustained by the Lord, present in our midst, who speaks to us and nourishes us. A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the Risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. For this reason, we need to develop a closer relationship with Sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, inflicted as we are by so many forms of blindness.’” This gives us a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect on the Sacred Scriptures. 

There are two means by which God Divinely reveals truths to us: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. As such, the Bible is not merely a human document, nor simply a collection of amazing stories that call us to do heroic things, or a collection of wise sayings. Rather, the Scriptures are “inspired.” St. Paul has a beautiful teaching about this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.” By “inspired” we mean that God is the principle author of the Bible.

Certainly there were different men who physically wrote the words on the papyrus. Yet these men were influenced by the grace of inspiration to write, not just their own words, but God’s. And so the Scriptures are a mysterious congruence of Divine and human authorship – the human writers capably made full use of language, literary forms, creativity, and writing style to communicate their message, yet they did so under the grace of Divine inspiration. This means that while they wrote in such a way that they had full freedom to write as they wanted, what they wrote was also, “to a tee,” exactly as God wanted written. God is the principle author of the Bible, the human author its secondary writer. Such inspiration is how, despite the various human authors, events, and historical and cultural contexts behind the 73 Biblical texts, we’re still left with only one story since they all have the same one primary author. 

Given that the Bible is the written word of God, I’d like to offer a few “tips” for reading the Bible, since it certainly cannot be read like any other text. 

1. Pray! We must pray before opening the Scriptures for enlightenment from God. We must pray after reading in thanksgiving to God. And we must pray throughout reading in order to encounter God in Scripture and apply it to our life. Of course, the tried and trusted practice of praying the Scriptures is Lectio DivinaThe Ladder of Monks by Guigo II is the ancient resource for Lectio Divina, while a helpful book to get you started is Dr. Tim Gray’s Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina

2. Remember that you are in no rush. The important point is encountering Christ in the Scriptures, not racing through them. Speed reading isn’t reading, after all, much less when applied to the Word of God. It’s not about getting through the Bible, but encountering Christ therein. That may be a few chapters at a time or may actually be only one verse that you pray with. Whatever the case, slow and steady wins the race, as Aesop reminds us. 

3. We have to read the Scriptures regularly, daily if possible. We read in Psalm 1, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Meditating day and night. A good way to start would be to read one Psalm a night as a part of your nightly prayer. Ever better would be praying that one Psalm with your spouse, if married. 

4. Do not worry about starting on page one and reading from cover to cover. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lost in the text. We all know about Adam and Eve, Noah and the Flood, Moses and the Plagues. But how many understand animal sacrifices in the Book of Leviticus or its purity laws? It’s very easy, starting from page one and flipping straight through, to lose sight of the story of salvation history. Start from page one if you’d like, but don’t feel like you can’t start with whatever book (especially the Gospels) that you find yourself drawn to. 

5. Come take classes with the Denver Catholic Biblical School! In chapter eight of the Book of Acts, we read of an Ethiopian Eunuch reading from the Prophet Isaiah. When the Deacon Philip asks him if he understands what he’s reading, the Eunuch responds, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” This is what we at the Biblical School are here for – to guide you in your encounter with Christ in the Sacred Scriptures. We’re in the middle of our Scripture classes already for this year, but we always start new classes in the fall every September. And in the meantime, we have plenty of things still coming for this year – a class on Catholic Social Teaching that begins on Jan. 27 a lecture series for Lent that starts on March 1, a conference on the Sacred Heart being offered on May 15 and Aug. 28, and a six-week class on St. Joseph in the summer starting in July. We have something for everybody – just reach out to us!