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Nativity of the Lord (Mass during the Night)

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Lectionary: 14
Read the Gospel: Luke 2:1-14

Gospel Summary
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 has come to bring peace for all people.

Reflection for Families
The angels brought good news to the shepherds, a part of the population not well respected. As Christmas Day approaches parents often feel exhausted and frazzled. We too may feel low as the shepherd only because we have demanded so much of ourselves. Looking into the faces of our children, is it possible for us to see the true meaning of Christmas? Can their plea to "read one more story" or "play one more game" be a clue for us to enjoy the time we have with them? How hard it is for us to focus only on the joy of their company and not be leaping ahead to the many chores awaiting us after we tuck them in. For us to realize the peace that God has in mind this Christmas Day, we might first make peace in our own home. Maybe this is the year to do something totally daring, like spend more time in pajamas playing all the new games found under the tree. Let Jesus truly come among you.

Bringing the Gospel into Your Family
Create a family celebration that welcomes Jesus into the world (and your home). Work together creating a special blessing for the Christmas meal. Gather boxes, tubes, sticks, and bells creating your own musical instruments to sing family favorite Christmas carols. Wear simple robes and headpieces as members of your family recreate this Gospel story.

Discussion Starters
1. An "angel" in my life who has brought me good news is...
2. One thing I plan to do in the New Year that will help bring peace to at least a small corner of the world is...
3. The one gift I would like to give Jesus in return today is...

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