Let yourself become conscious of God intimately present within you at this moment
Take a few moments to be still and to settle yourself into a comfortable position. Close your eyes and imagine all your worries, distractions and concerns fading away. As you notice the silence within yourself, let yourself become conscious of God intimately present within you at this moment, present in your heart and in the place where you now pray.
This week's reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
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 that 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 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.
Let’s be astonished at the amazing love for us which God shows through the birth and life of Jesus
- The angels, God's heavenly messengers, told the shepherds something remarkable, that they would find a baby boy lying in a manger who is both Messiah and Lord, God and Saviour! The shepherds opened themselves to this mystery of love, the news of the coming of the One who saves. Even the sheep heard the news too! The whole earth moved in joy this Bethlehem night. Still, it took the world a long time to realise that Jesus’s birth was good news for all humankind. The gospel is joy to the world – a message of love, calling us to peace and justice, and to the celebration of the divine in our lives. The joy of the gospel is the deepest joy. It embraces all other joys so that the divine and the human are one.
- The Shepherds went in faith, not to ‘gawk’ but to hear more intensely what the Lord had made known to them through the angels. There is a message for us too each year from the Lord. Christmas is first and foremost Christ’s visit to us. His intimate presence is our first Christmas present. Sometimes, though, we can get so busy that we fail to see this. Perhaps this Christmas we can each make a journey to a ‘Bethlehem’ of our own – a place of special meaning, faith-filled time spent with a friend, a family rosary at home, a restful meditation. It is in Bethlehems such as these that we can learn the Lord’s message to us this year.
- In the Gospel Mary rarely speaks. She does, however, ponder a lot. Being the mother of Jesus gives her much cause for reflection and wonder. She ponders both in times of joy and in times of sorrow, and always in the presence of God. His wisdom is her wisdom. Let it be ours too this Christmas. We often wonder and marvel at the love of another person for us. Let’s be astonished at the amazing love for us which God shows through the birth and life of Jesus.
Talk to God
For us God became human, a newborn baby lying in a manger. Take some time to contemplate the magnitude of this mystery
- Look long at the sky and you will see and hear the voice of angels! Creation is the first word of God. Its colour and beauty remind us of God’s beauty; its storms and hurricanes remind us that we are not in charge and it is God’s world. All ‘is charged with the glory of God’.
- The next word of God, so full of life and meaning, was the Word made flesh – a child of God just like us. This powerful word communicated through the silence of a little child. For us God became human, a newborn baby lying in a manger. So much can be heard in silence, so much echoes in the ‘sound of silence’. Take some time to contemplate the magnitude of this mystery.
- The poor shepherds had no social status. People had little time for them. We don’t know what they said to Mary, but whatever it was she remembered it forever. Words here and there can keep us going - a word of love, a word of advice, a word of prayer. Remember a time when a person you loved spoke your name – this is the word of the Lord!
Lord and Ruler,
Root of Jesse,
Key of David,
King of the Nations,
Emmanuel, Come Jesus.