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):
12: Flight Into Egypt
V: We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee.
R: Because by thy wonderful Nativity thou hast given us new birth.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:13-15)
While shepherds and Magi adored the child, Joseph had been in the background, quietly watching and caring for his wife: now he was urgently called to action to protect the Son of God. Escaping the jealous rage of Herod, they fled southward to Egypt, the land from which their ancestors had been brought out of slavery.
We give thanks for all who protect the weak and vulnerable and pray that they may be given strength to fulfill their calling; and for the divine love that uses our frailty to support one another in need. We pray for guidance in all times of danger and uncertainty.
We do not open ourselves fully to God’s ways of guiding; we stand aside while others act to help those in need. Make us more ready to care not only for those near to us but for the stranger and the outcast, the homeless and those who flee from persecution.
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’s protecting darkness concealed their flight from the dark jealousy that feared the defenseless. They had to leave the Promised Land, go back through the wilderness to the place of slavery. God who had carried his people in the wandering years made the return journey in a mother’s arms, divine power diminished into a bundle of humanity.
They were not the first to flee from tyranny or the last to stumble across a strange frontier, to seek safety among alien faces when the familiar took on a face of doom.
In time the child would welcome the stranger, the outcast, the despised, the unprotected, with a royal love that kings dared not feel because the ground beneath the throne might be shaken.
On wanderers without a home: Lord have mercy.
On refugees driven by war and violence: Lord have mercy.
On my hardness of heart when help is needed: Lord have mercy.
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.