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):
4: Birth Of The Baptist
V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judaea. All who heard them pondered them and said, “What will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 2: part of verses 57-66)
The first son would be likely to take his father’s name, or one already known in the family. John’s parents obeyed the command of the angel and gave him a name which in its Hebrew form means, “God has been gracious.” This child was to be the forerunner of God’s most gracious gift to the human race. As soon as the name was given, Zechariah spoke again in the words of the Benedictus:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
And has raised up a mighty salvation for us
in the house of his servant David.
We give thanks for the revelation of God’s will in what may seem unimportant. We praise him for his loving preparation for the coming of his son, until the day when John would declare the good news of salvation. We pray for grace to discern when our lives are being prepared for new service.
We do not trust in the fulfillment of the divine promises. We take the easy, familiar decision, thinking that we know what is best. Help us to listen more earnestly for God’s word to us and to follow it more faithfully.
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.
It seemed there would be no greater wonder than a son of their old age, named by divine decree.
Prophecy became reality, the dumb spoke, the power of God came among his people, the true light was coming into the world, and the best was still to be revealed.
The witness-bearer, now weak and speechless, first token of redeeming love, was waiting for the time to be fulfilled, wilderness years, healing water, the new land of promise.
His work accomplished, the good news proclaimed, he would decrease and pass into the shadows, rejoicing, as the sword fell, that God’s ancestral promises would be faithful forever.
Lord, deliver me from evil and let me serve you without fear,
Lord, deliver me from the shadow of sin and give light in my darkness,
Lord, deliver me from error and guide me into the way of peace.
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.