From Stations of the Nativity: Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ
Before the Stations
Almighty God, whose blessed Son took our human nature so that we might regain our lost innocence and be restored to the divine image that was disfigured by sin, grant that as we meditate on the mystery of his humanity we may share the glory of his divinity, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.
A hymn may be sung: the familiar Christmas hymns tell of the wonder of the Incarnation and the following is particularly suitable (click on hymn title to be directed to the YouTube video of its performance):
V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
In the days of King Herod of Judaea, there was a priest named Zechariah. Once when he was serving as priest before God, there appeared to him an angel of the Lord. The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son, and you will name him John. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “Because you did not believe my words, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the days these things occur.” (Luke 1: part of verses 3-20)
Zechariah was serving the worship in the Temple as it had been done for centuries past. In those years many prophets had declared God’s purpose for his people and told of the Messiah who was to come. Now the time was near, and Zechariah would have a son who would be the last prophet of the Old Covenant and the forerunner of the New. It was too much for the old man to believe. He was deprived of speech and sent to meditate in silence until the promise was fulfilled.
We give thanks to God for his patience, the constancy of his love, the assurance of his promises. We give thanks for the teaching of his prophets, for all his words of preparation which were fulfilled in the gospel. We give thanks for his gifts which continually exceed our expectations.
We too are slow to believe, because the good news seems impossible in human terms. We lose hope too readily, grow weary of waiting and turn aside from the way that we should follow. Teach us always to know the way that we should follow. Teach us always to know that your ways are not our ways and that nothing will prevent the fulfillment of your living purpose.
V: God sent his Son into the world.
R: To bring us to eternal life.
V: Let us bless the Lord.
R: Thanks be to God.
The time of waiting is time wasted as we count time in this world.
We fret as we wait for the bus, for the examination result, for the surgery bell, and resent the time we could, as we think, use more to our advantage.
God’s time of waiting is different; it is patient, creative, purposeful.
It is the love of a father who knows when it is time to give and when to withhold.
It is the compassion that reveals itself when we are ready and open to receive it.
Centuries of our time passed until time and place were ready together.
Time passed in Jerusalem, the holy city, the chosen place, where the sacrifices were offered and the covenant kept, where the prophets were stoned and the covenant broken.
But always the patience of love, waiting itself to follow the way of suffering.
Waiting with God is not time lost but time of being truly alive. Speech is silent as the wonder is revealed.
Patient God, turn my anxiety and anger into patience.
Unchanging God, turn my restlessness into quiet and constancy.
Faithful God, turn my doubts and fears into assurance.
Please show me when to speak and when to listen.
After the Stations
Almighty God, grant to us, who have followed our Lord through the time of his coming to Earth, the peace promised by the angels, the simple trust of the shepherds, the wise discernment of the Magi, and the love of the Holy Family in our homes and in all our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Savior,
A hymn may be sung: see above.
A priest who is present may give this blessing, or the people may say it together, saying, us, for, you.
May God give you grace to follow the example of Christ, and bring you through the power of his Incarnation to eternal life, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.