The Catholic Encyclopedia defines meditation as “a form of mental prayer consisting in the application of the various faculties of the soul, memory, imagination, intellect, and will, to the consideration of some mystery, principle, truth, or fact, with a view to exciting proper spiritual emotions and resolving on some act or course of action regarded as God's will and as a means of union with Him.” Wordy, but good to know that meditation is perfectly Catholic!
With that in mind, consider giving yourself a gift this Christmas by meditating upon the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation. After you read each section, close your eyes and recreate the scene in your mind. See the words come to life. Let the Holy Spirit guide your mind, body and soul. Let us be like our Lady and Saint Joseph, let us contemplate the Babe in the manger.
Imagine yourself to be one of the shepherds herding your sheep that night. Take in the sights and sounds and smells of your surroundings. Feel the wind, smell the crisp, chilly air, hear the silence, see the dark night sky illuminated by an unusual star.
There you are minding your own business, when suddenly and Angel of God appears.
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
You head to the stable or cave that night, as you approach you see first see St Joseph. He appears to be a proud father, yet more than that, he is a humble father. A strong, powerful presence, a man who is both at peace and concerned about his family. See how he looks at Jesus and then at Mary, watching, waiting, wondering.
You next spot the Blessed Mother. You are struck by her simple beauty, her purity, her grace, her humility, her joy. You also notice a motherly concern in her face, as if she is already beginning to sense just who this child is destined to be and what He is destined to endure. Yet her heart is filled with joy, rejoicing in God, her savior.
You now see the Baby Jesus.
You notice His wobbly, oversized head, wrapped in a swaddling blanket, not yet wearing a crown of thorns.
His tiny body, not yet scourged and beaten.
His skin, beautifully smooth and pink, not yet bruised and battered.
His tiny hands and feet, not yet nailed to the cross.
His Spirit, not yet burdened with sin, not yet experiencing the Agony in the Garden.
You even notice the wood of the crib, not yet the wood of the cross
Then you notice His eyes, big, bright and beautiful. They sparkle and shine. They give off a heavenly light. You feel at once attracted to them and, at the same time, unworthy to look. They draw you in, seemingly penetrating your very being.
He can’t speak, but you know He is calling you to gaze into His eyes, the eyes of Love Incarnate. Let Him love you with His eyes.
You look into the eyes of love and you feel love beyond description. You feel transformed. You feel you have just encountered the true and living God.
Now say something to Jesus. Speak to Him as if you are there witnessing this moment as it took place 2000 years ago. Close your eyes and speak from the heart.
Speak now to Our Lady and to St Joseph. Listen as Our Lady says something back to you. She says, “Do whatever He tells you.” St Joseph nods in affirmation. “Do whatever He tells you,” she repeats.
Feel the presence of Divine Love filling your heart to overflowing. This year there is room at your inn. Praise God for He is good.
As you slowly turn to leave, do not be sad. Do as the shepherds did. Return to your home, singing glory and praise to God. Share with all you meet the Good News that has been proclaimed to you.
Remind yourself that He is with you always. He’ll abide in you and abound in you, if you’ll continue to make room for Him.
Rejoice, for unto you this day a Savior is born.