(Adults, you could begin by lighting a candle before reading the reflection to your child. The quotations you could read directly from the Holy Bible so that your child sees that this is the Word of God.
The reading for this Sunday begins after the heavenly host returns into heaven. It assumes we already know what has taken place. Although your child probably has already heard about the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds and delivering the astonishing news, I chose to backtrack a bit and include the full passage beginning at verse 8.)
Last Sunday was Christmas Day and we began to celebrate the gift of Jesus the Light coming into the world. So full of joy, we continue to celebrate this gift today! We know that Jesus is born in a very strange place. No crib for him in a home or hotel, his mum lies him in a manger, a food box for animals. So strange! The Light of the World, lying in a manger! But who knows he is there? Who knows that God has given Jesus? Mary and Joseph know, but who else? In the Word of God we hear about the first people to find Jesus.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
We know that shepherds are people who take care of sheep. These shepherds live outside with their sheep always watching over them, keeping them safe, even in the middle of the night.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
'Terrified' means the shepherds are frightened—so very scared. Why? They were not expecting an angel of the Lord to appear. We wonder what the glory of the Lord shining in the night looks like. The shepherds do not understand what is going on. We do not like it when we do not understand. It makes us afraid.
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 Saviour, 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.”
God does not want them to be scared! No. Instead, God wants them to know something so good. Good, good news. Someone very special has come into the world; someone very special is born. God wants them to know who it is. Mary and Joseph know who it is. We know who it is. Now the shepherds know, too. We wonder why God wants them to know... Who is this baby for?
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 favours!”
It is good that the angel told the shepherds not to be afraid, because now there is not just one angel, but oh so many! All of them praise God! All of them sing how great God is! Why? Because God gives Jesus, the Light of the World.
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.”
The shepherds want to find the baby. But babies all look pretty much the same—small, scrunchy red faces, wrapped in blankets. How will the shepherds know him? The angel of the Lord tells them how. They need to look for an ordinary baby wrapped in bands of cloth, but not lying in a crib or cradle or even his parents' bed—instead, lying in a manger.
So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
They find him, exactly how the angel of the Lord says!
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.
Everyone is amazed—their eyes so big, their eyebrows so high, their mouths in round O's! This baby must be so special if God sends angels so everyone can know. They wonder who he is. They wonder what he will do. They wonder who he is for...
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
Mary wonders about her baby, too. Who is he? What will he do? Who is he for? She treasures all these words of the shepherds, all these words of the angels, all these words of amazement from all who hear. These words are treasure. So special. So beautiful. So wonderful.
The Word of God.
Mary keeps this treasure close to her in her heart. We can do this, too, each time we listen to the Word of God.