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God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)—Mass at Dawn
December 25

Today's Readings

First Reading
Isaiah 62:11-12
Say to daughter Zion, your savior comes.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 97:1-6, 11-12
A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Second Reading
Titus 3:4-7
He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Gospel Reading
Luke 2:15-20
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger.

Background on the Gospel Reading

There are four Masses that are celebrated for the feast of Christmas, and each is given its own set of readings to help us contemplate Christ's birth. The Gospel for the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve is taken from the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus and the angel's announcement of the birth to Joseph. The Mass at midnight proclaims the birth of Jesus through the angels' announcement to the shepherds in the Gospel of Luke. Luke 2:15-20 is the reading for the mass at dawn on Christmas morning. It continues the story of the birth of Jesus as found in Luke's Gospel with the shepherds' visit to the infant Jesus. Finally, the Gospel for Christmas Mass during the day is taken from the beginning of John's Gospel. It is not an Infancy Narrative like those found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Instead, John's Gospel starts at the very beginning of time and presents Creation as the framework for announcing the Incarnation. John's opening words echo the first verse in the Book of Genesis, “In the beginning was the Word.”

The story of Jesus' birth, which begins with a reference to Caesar Augustus, concludes with the shepherds, people looked down on by most of society, visiting the infant. As the angels return to heaven, the shepherds decide to go see “this thing” that has happened in Bethlehem. Their visit confirms everything the angels had told them about the birth of the Savior and Messiah. They then spoke publicly about all they had seen, to the great astonishment of all who heard. Mary ponders all this in her heart, and the shepherds return to their fields praising God. What had been told to them really happened. This account does not tell us very much about the infant Jesus because Luke's concern is that God's action of sending a savior be publicly proclaimed. As Paul says before King Agrippa in Acts of the Apostles 26:26, “None of this was done in a corner.” The picture is simple, two parents and an infant in a stable. But the reality is great, God's salvation offered to all.

Max Char 500
Every week before the succeeding Sunday I read through the teachings and explanations of the Readings and find them really directing. I am a leader of liturgy at our St. Christopher's Small Christian Society in Lodwar Diocese, Kenya. When we share what I read from these teachings during the Reading of the Gospel at our Society's weekly meeting it is all applauds! Thank you, Ahsante sana.
Love the background information and detail. Really clarifies the reading for me as well as provides valuable insight. Thanks very much!
Thank you! It helps share the Gospel with the children in my CCD class who do not attend mass regularly. And for those who do attend mass are then familiar and tell me they listen during mass. Love the fourth graders and their honesty! Toni

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