Feast of the Holy Family Cycle A
Welcome children to their worship space.
Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.
Introduce yourself and your helpers.
Say: This is it! The fourth and last Sunday of Advent. The waiting is almost over. What feast is coming up this week? <Christmas> Is anyone excited? <YES!> This is how excited you will be when you are actually in heaven with Jesus. God promises us that heaven is a better place than we can even imagine. Remember in your heart how excited you are right now—because that’s exactly how wonderful it will be to be with God.
Ask: Can anyone tell me what we talked about last week? <show symbol of the person> We talked about how Jesus came to us as a human being. When we see another person, we should be reminded that Jesus is not only God, but was a person just like each one of us.
Say: Today’s symbol is a family.
Ask: When God decided how people would come into the world, how did God decide that this should happen? <people are born> Do they arrive fully grown? <no, they are infants, totally helpless and dependent upon others> What did God do about this—to take care of babies and show them his love? <he created families>
Say: All families are special. The members of a family have a special job, to take care of each other and love each other. This way they teach each other how much God loves us.
Say: Let’s look at today’s poster. What does it say? <Happy are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.> This is our Responsorial Psalm for today. The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Ask: What does this psalm mean? Does it mean that we need to be afraid of God? <NO!!> “Fear of the Lord” is another way to say “respect”. If I tell you to do something, most of you would try to do it, wouldn’t you? Why is that? Is it because you are afraid of me? <no, but we are all taught to obey the person in charge; we show respect to those in authority>
Say: So, this psalm says that if you show respect to God and try to do what he says, you will be happy!
We have two readings today.
Say: Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.
Say: Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of Sirach. (Sirach 3:2-6) We are going to hear some advice that Sirach has for us about how to act toward your parents. Listen and try to remember one thing that Sirach says.
Have the reader read the first reading.
Ask: What does Sirach tell us to do? <honor our father, praise your mother, respect your father> Do you think that when Jesus was born, he had to do this too? <yes>
Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm. Your part is to say:
Happy are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Say: Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew. (Matt 2:13-15, 19-23). It is a special story about when Joseph listened to his deepest feelings and took care of his family.
Say: Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card) Alleluia, Alleluia.
Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”
Read: Read the Gospel
Ask: What happened? <let the children retell what they heard> What might have happened if Joseph was not such a good father? <discuss> We have talked about the responsibility that parents have toward their children. What about you? Do you have a responsibility to share God’s love with your family members? <YES>
Say: There are lots of types of families. There is the group of people that live in your house. What other group of people might you think of as family? <extended relatives, school, church> A family is a group of people who take care of each other and share God’s love with each other.
Hand out the poster cut-outs of a person so that the children can write their names on them for the poster.
Hand out the symbols to color. (The symbol is a family). Ask the older children to write one thing they can do this week to help share God’s love within their own special family.
Explain: Color this symbol of the family and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!) to show that we have learned about families and their love for us.
If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.
Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.
Feast of the Holy Family A
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family. The children listened to the same readings you did: Sirach 3:2-6; Colossians 3:12-17; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23.
To reinforce at home:
The readings today talk about how to treat each other, especially within the family unit. The Gospel in particular, emphasizes the parents’ role in caring for their children. We talked about how wonderful it is that God designed the world so that we would have families to take care of us. We shared different ways that each family member could show the love of God to one another.
Activities to do at home:
*Share some thoughts about different kinds of families and what makes your particular family special.
*Talk about some family traditions that you have.
*Find a neighbor or friend to share some time with your family, perhaps asking them to dinner or church.
Thank you for sharing your children!