STATIONS OF THE NATIVITY: Shepherds At The Manger by Raymond Chapman

Shepherds At The Manger by Raymond Chapman

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):

The Shepherd’s Carol

8: Shepherds at the Manger

V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy glorious Nativity thou hast given us new birth.

When the angels had left them and gone into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing which has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this, they made known what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:15-20)

Faithful to the word of the angel, the shepherds went to see for themselves what God had done.  The poverty and humility of the scene in the stable did not disturb their faith.  It was all as they had been told, and they rejoiced that the Savior was born.  They  began at once to proclaim the good news.  Mary responded quietly to the marvelous promise that had been fulfilled.

We give thanks for the divinity that is in all people because God has taken our nature upon him.  We are comforted and joyful to know that he speaks not only to the wise and the mighty but to all who are open to receive his word and respond with faith. 

Too often we fail to see the glory that is all around us and to find the presence of God in the simplest things of this world.  We do not value the quiet goodness of people whose lives seem unremarkable.  Help us to discern Christ everywhere and in all, and to rejoice in knowing his continual presence with us.

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 no royal court, no place for a king to be born, no hallowed sanctuary where a priest should enter, no walled security for a vulnerable new baby.

Few would turn aside to see evidence of another birth, another life in this land where promises seemed forgotten and foreign rulers demanded their dues from the poor.

But it was a faith sight, something acceptable, understood by those who lived close to animals; it was what they had expected – no ceremony, nothing to hold one simplicity apart from another.

It had been a good angel, a messenger of truth, for the glory of the Word is in its fulfillment not in the qualifications that we lay upon it.

They praised God in loud voices, the voices of men who could call far across the hills, and took on themselves the role of angels among their own kind.

But Mary was silent in the mystery of grace, in the silence that can be the highest praise of God.

Give me, dear Christ Child, ears to hear the message of the angels.

Give me, dear Christ Child, lips to make known your love.

Give me, dear Christ Child, the wisdom of silent adoration.

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.



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