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Nativity of the Lord, A-C, Primary

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Primary Session
Luke 2:1-14

Opening Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for sending Jesus into the world. The shepherds were afraid because they didn't understand at first, but we know that Jesus is your son and our savior. Through Christ Jesus, your son, we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
Display items on a table that will help children use their five senses. You might use freshly popped corn for the sense of smell, sound and taste; or a fresh pinecone for the sense of touch and smell. Invite children to think about a special person, place, thing or moment they are reminded of in these objects.

• Why is the person, place thing, or moment special to you?
• How does the person, place, thing or moment remind you of God?
• How do we take time everyday to see God in people, places, things or moments?

Ask students to share ways that in their own experience they have seen God in the world. Provide time for responses. God came into the world to be with us in a special way. It is through God's son, Jesus, that we can know God. Jesus was born a human being and we celebrate his birth at Christmas.

Listening to the Word of God
In the gospel today, the first people to hear the good news of Jesus are the shepherds.
Read Luke 2:1-14
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters
• Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel so far?
• Why wasn't Jesus born in a comfortable room?
• What did the shepherds first think when the angel told them about Jesus' birth?

Scripture Background
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the gospel using the Catechist Background section.
This portion of Luke's infancy narrative contains two distinct components. First we are given the setting. Decreed by the rulers of the day, people were to journey to their hometown and be counted in the census. For Joseph, this meant taking his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. No sooner had they gotten to Bethlehem than the baby, Jesus, was born. Next, an angel visited shepherds in a nearby field. At first the shepherds were frightened, but the angel calmed them with the good news of a savior born in Bethlehem. This savior came to bring peace for all people.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Why do you think the shepherds were the first ones to learn about Jesus' birth?
• What do you think the shepherds first thought when the angel came to them?
•Have you ever been afraid of something at first but found out later it was really a good thing?

Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Incarnation
Jesus enters the world through a poor family. He is born in a stable and shares the manger and hay of lowly animals. His parents know poverty only too well and have just endured a grueling trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that they can be counted in Caesar's census. The first people to hear about Jesus' birth were shepherds, some of the poorest and most simple people of Jesus' day. In all of this poverty, however, it is the greatest glory of God and heaven that comes to be known to all people for all time.

What distinguishes us as Christians is our belief that God revealed himself to us through the Son of God, Jesus. The Son of God became human so that we might know God's saving grace. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. We can never see God ourselves, but we can know God through Jesus.

• How can we know God's love for us through Jesus?
• How is it possible for Jesus to be a mediator between us and God?
• Why do we end our prayers with words like Òthrough Jesus ChristÓ?

Sacrament Connection
God chooses us, and we become part of the family of God. There are three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. These sacraments lay the foundation of our Christian lives and through Christ we can share in God's divine nature. We are born anew in Baptism, are strengthened in Confirmation and are given the food of eternal life in Eucharist.

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Posted in: Sessions A , Sessions B , Sessions C