The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found
Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the
manger. When they saw this, they made known the
message that had been told them about this child. All
who heard it were amazed by what had been
told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these
things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the
shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they
had heard and seen, just as it had been
told to them. When eight days were completed for his
circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him
by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are my friend, my
Father, and my protector. I come to you on this
new day confident in your presence. I renew my
love for you, trusting in your guiding hand.
Petition: Lord, I want to hear the angels sing.
Help me learn to listen.
1. Sometimes We Need a
Little Help: Would the shepherds have been impressed to
find Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus if the
angels had not explained what was happening? They would have
just thought it was a poor, vagabond family—unimpressive and
unassuming like their own lives as shepherds. Yet the
angels opened them to a reality that they would never
have imagined or perceived. In my life God has
also sent me angels who help me discover him:
the faith of a parent or grandparent, the sweet, innocent
faith of a child, the good example of a
friend, a teacher, a priest or a nun, the
example of our Holy Father. Mary also teaches me to
discover God in her Son. Do I thank God
for these angels that he has sent me? Do I
follow their advice and look for Christ in the
simple, ordinary circumstances of my life?
2. Hints of a New
Song: In a symphony, the first movement only hints
at the central theme. Mary had first heard this
theme from the angel Gabriel. Now the shepherds take up
this theme—the hymn of the angels—and even though the
shepherds play their part with great enthusiasm, it probably
makes very little noise outside the little town of
Bethlehem. Yet the song had begun, and it would grow
to a crescendo as Christ lived out his mission.
History unfolds God’s mysterious plan of salvation. I am
part of that history, of that symphony. Do I do
my best to continue Mary’s song, God’s song, by
living my commitments and taking part in apostolate?
His Name Shall Be “God Saves”: Mary and Joseph take
up the hymn. They know the secret: this child
will save Israel and will save all mankind. They
begin to explain to the world, using an ancient name,
Joshua (Yeshua), a name that now becomes not just
a promise but a person. This is God’s new name.
This is Our God: God Saves. He is not
merely a God who is the source of everything.
Our God is intimately committed to us, and he puts
himself “in the line of fire” to save us.
Man had suspected that God was Creator, and the Jews
had received the surprise of his friendship, but neither
Gentile nor Jew dreamed that God was also this
type of love. Do I dare to dream of God’s
goodness? Do I let Christ give me peace and
hope in the midst of this despairing world?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have heard something
new today. You remind me this Christmas that it is
time for a new song, a song of confidence
and hope. Mary teaches me this song, this good
news. I want to bring this good news more deeply
into my life. I know that you are helping
me to discover you more each day. Help me also
discover you to others.
presence, I will strive to “sing this new song” (the
Christian virtue I have determined to cultivate) today by
making a special effort in one aspect of living