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):
6: Birth of Jesus
V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
In those days a decree went out from the Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judaea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. When they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2: part of verses 1-7)
The time had come. The Messiah, so long promised, was born at last. But he came in a way none of the prophets had foretold, humbly and unregarded. His divinity was concealed, but his humanity was laid in a loving mother’s arms, guarded by a man chosen to act to him as a father. Redemption had come to the world, though the world did not yet know it.
We give thanks for the wonderful gift of God’s own son. As we pass our lives in a world that has been favored by supreme love, we rejoice in our human nature restored to the image of God who made it. May we have grace to reflect on this great mystery and to adore the child of Bethlehem who is the Light of the World.
We are too casual in our response to the wonder of the Nativity. We listen to the Christmas story and sing the Christmas hymns without deeply reverencing the amazing grace of which they tell. We are sentimental when we should be full of awe. Forgive the forgetfulness of familiarity, and give us more love for the one who took our human nature upon himself.
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 was the word of prophecy through the long years of waiting, the word known only to a woman and a man in the few months of waiting, the Word before all time, now new-begotten at a chosen time.
The past promise became present reality in the harsh reality of an outhouse, the breathing reality of animals, the alien reality of an unfamiliar town, the ignorant reality of those who slept in comfort.
Angels had promised great things, a birth by the Spirit, a new life different from any life since the sun set on Eden.
But here was no place for prophet, priest, or king: bare walls, earth floor, feeding-trough for a bed.
They wondered at the helplessness of the baby, who was foretold as the son of the Almighty.
Parent-like, they wanted so much for him: peace and security instead of this rejection, this homeless state: something better than the pressure of rough wood on gentle flesh.
Child of Bethlehem, weak and helpless, have pity on my weakness.
Child of Bethlehem, loved and cherished, forgive my lack of love.
Child of Bethlehem, peaceful in a manger, calm my restlessness.
Great son of God made flesh, hold me in your strong arms.
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.