Children's Readings (Cycle B)
The Holy Family
Opening Question: Describe the perfect family.
First Reading: Colassians 3:12-21
God chose you. After all, he made you holy. And he loves you very much. So, act with compassion. Be kind, gentle, and humble. Be patient with others. Take time to understand each other. Forgive each other, even if someone complains about another Christian. Remember, the Lord forgave you. You should do the same. Above all, love others the way you would like to be loved. This kind of love will completely bind you together.
Let the peace Christ gave you rule your hearts. That peace brings us together, like we were a single body. Always thank God. Let Christ's words live in you, like gold that overflows a bank vault. Use all your wisdom when you teach others or give them advice. And sing to God with all your heart in psalms and other church songs, as you thank him through his Son. Whatever you say or do, do it all in the name of our Lord Jesus.
Everyone has an idea what makes up the perfect family. Some people think the perfect family has lots of money to spend and lots of time to spend with each other. But not everyone is rich. And most parents have to work.
Others think the perfect family is the where family members are involved in each other’s lives. Some families are sports families. Their dads and moms coach the teams their children are on. Other families travel to competitions where their children compete. Some even play the games their children play. Soccer, softball, and basketball. Unfortunately, many of these families make sports more important than family itself.
Some think the perfect family look and act good. They take great pictures. They know what to say and what to do. The problem, of course, is that many of these families are more concerned with the way they look and the things they say than the way they treat each other.
So, what makes up the perfect family? Let’s look at the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. What makes them so special? They weren’t rich. They weren’t into sports. They weren’t into looking good or saying the right things. Why are they special? Just one thing. They loved each other, just like St. Paul calls us to do.
Bridging Question: What was Christmas like? Did you have fun? What happened?
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40
Sometime after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem. They presented Jesus to God at the Temple because God’s Law said, “The first child whom a mother bears will be called special for God.” They also worshiped God with an offering of two birds, just like God’s Law commands.
A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. Always trying to live by God’s will, Simeon loved the Lord and waited for God to visit his people. God’s Spirit lived in Simeon and told him he would see the Messiah before he died. The Spirit led Simeon into the Temple, where Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to worship God. There, Simeon took Jesus into his arms and praised God,
Now, you can let me die in your peace, Lord;
you kept your word to me.
I have seen the One who will save your people,
whom everyone will see.
He will be a light to every nation,
and will bring great honor to Israel, your people.
His father and mother were surprised by what the man said. Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “Listen! God put your child here so many people will fall and many will be raised up. People will oppose him and this will show what they really think. But, this will be like a dagger stabbed in your heart.”
There was a prophet named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was eighty-four years old. First, she was married for seven years, then she lived alone as a widow. She constantly served God in the Temple by fasting and praying. Anna came to the temple at the same time the family arrived. The woman thanked God for Jesus and spoke to everyone who waited for Israel’s freedom about the boy.
After they did what God’s Law commanded them to do in the Temple, they went home to Nazareth in Galilee. There, Jesus grew strong because God filled him with wisdom. And God blessed him.
It was the day after Christmas. Dylan’s family were taking down the Christmas lights and decorations. He sat there sad that Christmas had come and gone so soon.
When his father began to take down the figures of Joseph and Mary by the baby Jesus, Dylan approached his father with a request. “Dad,” Dylan said,” can we leave the manger scene up just one more week? I just want everyone to know Christmas is still important.” Dylan’s father thought for a moment and agreed.
The next week, fewer and fewer houses had their lights on. But Dylan’s father still light the manger scene in front of the house. The stable’s white background lights and the front flood lights made Jesus, Mary, and Joseph glow. The straw and the animals sat by. And the Three Wise Men stood back in half shadows. All the people who passed by on foot or in their cars had different looks on their faces. Some had puzzled looks. Others just smiled.
The next weekend, Dylan’s father was looking in boxes marked Christmas. “What are you doing, Dad? Aren’t you going to put the manger scene away?” Dylan asked his father.
“No,” his father muttered. “I’m looking for a few more lights to make the scene a little nicer.” Then his father turn and looked Dylan in the eye. “I thought it would be nice to leave it up just one more week,” his father added, winking his eye.
Dylan smiled and said, “Thanks, Dad.”
One week turned into two weeks. Soon there was a sign in front of the manger scene. It read The light of Christmas should last all year.
Finally, Dylan ‘s dad took down the manger scene on the first weekend in February. The point was made so well that the next year Dylan’s neighbors kept up their lights and kept them shining throughout January. The light of Christmas should last all year. The sign Dylan’s father made stood out for everyone to see. Below the first line, Dylan’s father added Jesus is the Light. Everyone on the block agreed.
Jesus is the light to all people. Like a candle in a dark room, he shows us the right way to live in a dark world. And he shows us the way to heaven, God’s shining home. Let us follow the light of Jesus. Let us not walk into the dark where we will stumble and fall.
Closing Question: How can you make Christmas last a little longer this year? How can you show others Jesus is the light of world?