The Gospel of Luke 2: 1-20
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Let us Pray: Tonight we proclaim the hope that inspires us to keep moving forward on our journeys. We recognize the peace that extends from our souls into the world. We celebrate the joy that fills our spirits with excitement. And we herald the love passed between the Christ and us and between our neighbors and us. As the Christ Candle is lit, we celebrate the compassion which will overcome hatred and the kindness which will overcome isolation. May the light seen tonight fill our souls throughout the new year and beyond, enlivening our spirits throughout eternity. Amen.
The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Those words continue to be so important today. A savior was born that would change the world, change lives to this day. CHANGE OUR LIVES. This is the second time recently we have heard the words “Do not be afraid” The Angel Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid and an angel tells the shepherds to not be afraid. We need to listen to the angel, it may not come to us directly, but the voices of the angel and the voices of the Lord tell us not to be afraid. We know today it isn’t easy to not be afraid. With so much going on in the world from Covid variants to continued unrest to just fear of where the future is headed. Very often, our problems in life are associated with other people. They disagree with us or we with them. We have an argument. They disobey. They do things we don’t like. They say something that offends us. So situations like this cause us to be afraid, that we may lose them as friends or upset the family. So how do we not be afraid? First, we need to be a little like Joseph, taking Mary, who was going to deliver her child any day, and leaving for Bethlehem. That’s it. No complaining. Just obedience. Are we strong Like Mary, and obedient like Joseph or are we like the Shepherds who needed to go and see what the angels had told them? We need to go into the world and even though we aren’t going to visit the Baby Jesus, we can go out into the world and spread the Good news of Christ. There are many things we can do, we can provide help to those in need, check up on our neighbors, if capable make sure that our older neighbors are able to get what they need, and we can be diligent in protecting others as well as ourselves. Being a good neighbor is doing the work of Jesus and from the Gospel of John, we hear:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:34-35
Let us pray: Grant Lord, that all our Churches and all our people be illuminated by His light and shine forth in the world. May the devotion of the shepherds, the adoration of the angels, and the love of the Holy Family inspire us in our worship this day and through the coming year. This we pray in the name of the Christ Jesus. Amen