Good News of Great Joy
December 25th, 2011 (see other dates)
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Solemnity and Holy Day of Obligation
Discussion Questions for Reading 1A messenger brings glad tidings in this first reading for Christmas day. What does Isaiah say about the messenger? What do you think this means? What are some parts of the message? How does the Lord "comfort his people?" Where is peace needed in our world? How can we announce peace, salvation, and good news?
Reading 1 Isaiah 52:7-10
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading is filled with images of sight and sound. A messenger appears on the mountaintop bringing glad tidings of peace. Guards shout for joy as they witness what they had longed to see: God bringing comfort and salvation. All Jerusalem (that means all God's people) breaks into a song of joy at the good news of God's coming. The prophet is telling the people, through these images of joy, salvation, and peace, that our saving God will come.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2Paul tells us that now God speaks to us through his Son. What are some things Paul tells us about the Son? What are some other things we know about Jesus from the gospels? If Jesus "reveals" God, what do we now know about God? Is this "news" for you?
Reading 2 Hebrews 1:1-6
Reading 2 ReflectionIn this reading we are told that in times past God spoke through the prophets. But now God speaks to us through Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father. On Christmas Day, Jesus was born. The Son of God became one of us.
Jesus continues to speak to us today. He speaks to us in the Scriptures and in the liturgy. We hear him in the teachings of the Church. We find him in others, in those who love us, in those we don't even know, and especially in those who need us most. Today we join the angels of God to worship God's Son, who has come among us, and comes today in some very surprising ways and some very unexpected places.
Discussion Questions for GospelOne of the themes of this gospel is light. How does light "reveal" what is in a dark place? What is darkness in our world? What is light?
When someone speaks, that person's words can reveal what they are like. Sometimes Jesus is called "the Word of God." Find the places in this gospel where we are told something about the Word.
Gospel John 1:1-5, 9-14
Gospel ReflectionThe images of seeing and hearing continue in the gospel. John tells us that what we hear and see is God's own Son, Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He came among us as one of us for our human eyes to see and love and welcome. Jesus came to be with us, to teach us about his Father, and to tell us about God's kingdom. What can we do to show Jesus that we love and welcome him? We can worship him. We can talk with him, telling him of our hopes and dreams. We can try to be people who bring his peace and light and joy everywhere we go.
Proclaiming Faith Activities for Primary Grades
The Light of ChristmasIn the gospel we hear that Jesus is the true light that comes into our world. Reinforce this concept with the children by having them make "Christmas lights" from construction paper. Reproduce the light pattern on tag board and cut it out. Let children use this as a pattern and trace it on various colored construction paper. Let the children cut these out. Then have the children cut out pictures of Nativity scenes from old Christmas cards and glue these onto each of their lights. Attach the lights to yarn or ribbon and string them on the bulletin board or a Christmas tree.
Shining LightsGive each child a small votive candle and a small saucer from a terra cotta flowerpot. Have children decorate the rim of the saucers with Christmas stickers and paint. Then place the candle in the center of the saucer. Encourage children to have their parents light the candle during prayer time.
Proclaiming Faith Activities
IMAGINE THAT! A Christmas Prayer of ImaginationImagine you are present on that first Christmas. Imagine that you are a passerby, or a shepherd, or the innkeeper's child. Perhaps you might prefer to be one of the lambs, or the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. Come close to Jesus. Look at him. What are your thoughts? What will you say to him? Write it in a special prayer
LET US GO A-CAROLINGCarols are familiar songs that tell us some things about the feast of Christmas. This list has some words that are part of the Christmas caroling tradition. You can add more words from carols you know. Next to these words write the names of carols, or phrases from carols, that tell something about each Christmas word.
Bethlehem, joy, Mary, shepherds, star, angels, savior, hopes and fears, calm and bright.
Choose one of these carols to sing with your friends.
MESSENGER OF PEACESuppose you are that herald who was mentioned in today's first reading announcing the glad tidings (good news). Draw a herald's trumpet with a banner suspended from it. Choose one word from the whole Christmas tradition and print or "emblazon" it on your banner to tell what good news you want to announce.
For Bibles and other scripture resources, please see the Sadlier Religion Catalog.
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