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):
5: Joseph’s Dream
V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the Lord commanded him. (Matthew 2: part of verses 18-24)
The story tells of what seemed to be an event of disappointment and sorrow. Joseph was distressed beyond measure, torn between his own grief and his desire not to harm the woman he loved. Again, God revealed the wonderful identity of Mary’s child and, like her, Joseph believed and was faithful. He accepted his destiny to nurture and protect the son that was not his own but was entrusted to his fatherly care.
We give thanks for the gift of those who are close to us and whom we trust; for the love which endures through doubts and difficulties. Give us hearts more grateful for the human love that is a continual image of the divine love, ever seeking and holding us.
We are too ready to believe the worst of other people and sometimes become jealous even of those who should be dearest to us. Forgive the mean promptings of our human nature and strengthen us to accept and support the divine calling of others, without desiring praise for ourselves.
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 shock, the sorrow, the surge of anger, the desire to hurt the loved one who seemed faithless – did the black rage shake him when it was first made known?
But love prevailed, stronger than resentment; there would be no scandal, no shaming, only a quiet ending before the long years of loneliness after a hope that had failed.
Unquiet sleep, broken dreams, came after a day of bitter decisions; then a new vision, prompting, comforting, challenging – something unheard, undreamed by any dreamer; even Joseph of Egypt was never so highly favored.
There was no turning back on the command of God, though the calling baffled sense, defied language, found no answer in the familiar, loved religion.
Only a love too faithful for consummation could make ready for a holy birth.
In Nazareth gossips whispered, sniggered, pointed: a dusty road lay open towards Bethlehem.
Grant me the trust of Joseph, last and greatest of the patriarchs.
Grant me the humble love of Joseph, husband of Mary.
Grant me the strong wisdom of Joseph, protector of Jesus.
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.