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 glorious Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “A sword will pierce your own soul, too.” (Luke 2: part of verses 22-35)
Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph went to make their offering as the law commanded (Leviticus 12:6-8). This religious duty brought a further revelation that Jesus the Messiah was born for the salvation of the whole human race. Simeon, a devout worshiper after the Old Covenant, was given a vision of what would come to pass under the New.
We give thanks for the gift of light by which we receive the word of God and can see the tokens of his presence all around us. We praise the salvation brought by this Holy Child and pray that the light of his grace will shine within us and through us, keeping us faithful to the end when we may depart in peace.
We too often observe our religious duties in a casual way, and sometimes resent the time that they require, failing to accept the peace that they can bring. Help us to come with joy to our worship, resolved to open our hearts to what God is showing us, so that we may receive and declare the word of revelation.
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.
God said, Let there be light, and forever after there was light for those who would see it, and no darkness of sin or sorrow could quench the light.
Light reveals the visible signs of God’s glory and the secret signs of his grace: for light itself is his glory, awesome, unapproachable, and also the grace that is intimate, inviting all to the child.
Light reveals the true state of our being, the hidden things that we would rather not have known, penetrates like a scalpel the festering wounds of sin.
If a sword would pierce the most pure heart of Mary, none can escape the sword of judgment at the last – except by the love in the eyes of the child that lets us depart in peace.
Because he is the Word of salvation who reads us in the light of mercy.
That was the true Light, coming into the word.
Lord, give me light to know my sinfulness;
give me light to see your salvation;
give me light to overcome the darkness of death.
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.