Parents have many sacred duties regarding their children which is discussed in my soon to be released book  for parents entitled Daughters and Sons Forever. The second sacred duty [of a list of sixteen] is to be our children’s first Herald. Tis the season to talk about heralds.
Today, most of you are well aware of the fact that God has a multitude of heavenly Heralds. They are messengers who announce Great Tidings of Joy. “Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:11-12]. This announcement was prefaced with the assurance: Do not be afraid. Obviously, their presence must have been frightening yet glorious. I imagine it was kind of like the grand finale of a Fourth of July fireworks show plus! Many of you have probably heard that St. Michael the Archangel is nothing short of enormous whenever he appears; so.I personally imagine the shepherds had a vision of enormous angels flying around ecstatically producing flashing lights and echoing song that filled the whole sky. It surely would have been frighening and awesome to behold. That scene described Power and Awe.
When you hear the word - Herald - what comes to mind? Do you think of the officials who pronounce things written by Kings or Queens or Presidents or CEO’s? Yes, heralds are messages from V-I-P’s; but, let’s think about herald in the context as being very important messengers for God. These messengers have delivered dozens of messages recorded in the Old and New Testaments. The most famous Heralds that might naturally come to mind for us include Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. Their most profound messages were delivered to Mary [ The Annunciation] and to Shepherds [Christmas] regarding the Birth of Jesus. The Gospels teach us that these announcements often involve GREAT FANFARE and a multitude of angels. Imagine the sights and sounds in the field that Christmas night so many eons ago. The angels were simply bursting with joy at the Great Announcement. And so it must have been a bit intimidating for the shepherds in the fields until they realized that the news was from God and was indeed Good.
Parents also have so much Good News to announce to their children about God, Heaven, Divine Love and Mercy, the Bible Timeline, the Birth of Jesus, the purpose of His Church, and much, much more. Like the angels, parents are called to be their children’s first and principle Herald of the Gospel. We are called to re-tell the Bible to our children. We are called to teach our children to pray. We are called to explain the Faith boldly. We are called to explain God, Faith, Love, Forgiveness, Mercy, from a personal perspective. We are called to teach a myriad of God’s moral lessons at a time when many people reject this Good News.
Christmas provides us with the time to reflect, discuss and explain our Savior’s birth including the story that led up to his birth. Who is Jesus? That is the primary question to explain to our children. If not us, then who?
Too many parents assume that the job of being God’s herald belongs to someone else who is more holy, more majestic, more ecclesiastical, or ordained.Parents were annointed as their children’s first Herald the moment they were conceived. This past year I taught the Second Grade Faith Formation Class at my parish and I was disappointed that so few of the children knew key Bible stories; the Ten Commandments and even basic prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary. We have to take up the yoke and become our children’s First Herald. If not you, then who?
Joy to the World, the Lord is Come. May you and I announce this good news to our children and grandchildren with great fanfare and joy throughout the year! Blessings to you.