How many times have you heard the Christmas story so far this Advent? Sometimes, I have to admit, by the time we get to Christmas Day I’m quite fed up of hearing this same story over, and over again – is that ok to admit? Don’t get me wrong I LOVE the Christmas story but having just moved to a parish of three churches, the thought of attending 3 nativity services and 3 carol services does fill me with a little dread…
But instead of letting the Christmas story just go in one ear and straight out the other, I decided to see if I could turn this well-known story into a way of praying!
Praying the Christmas Story!
So, the Christmas story traditionally begins with the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to tell her she is to have a baby boy and must call him Jesus. When Joseph finds out and plans to quietly divorce Mary, an angel appears to him in a dream and tells him that this child is from God!
God talks to us in many different ways – through angels, in dreams, through other people, through his word in the Bible. Let’s take time to listen for God’s voice. What is he saying to you?
After finding out that she was to have a baby, Mary goes to visit her sister Elizabeth and sings a song of joy, gratitude and praise to God.
Dear God, help us to respond to you with gratitude and praise. Thank you for all the blessings you have given to us. Help us to recognise our blessings more clearly and to respond in praise for you. Amen.
Mary and Joseph then had to travel to Bethlehem as Caesar was conducting a census of all the people in the land. When they arrived, there was no room for them to stay so they stayed in a stable where Mary gave birth to a son.
Dear God, when Jesus was born, he had very little. He had no bed, and was surrounded by animals. Be with those today who have nowhere safe and warm to stay. Help them to find warmth and comfort and protect them from harm. Amen.
A group of angels appeared to shepherds whilst they were watching their flocks nearby, telling them of Jesus’ birth. The shepherds rushed to the stable and worshipped the baby Jesus there.
Dear God, thank you that Jesus came to save all people, not just the rich or the intelligent or those with high social status. Thank you that you use the poor, the humble, the forgotten to glorify your name. Show us how you want to use us. Amen.
A great star shone above the stable in which Jesus was born. 3 Magi from the East saw this star and decided to follow it. They arrived at the stable (via a quick stop off at King Herod’s) and bowed down, presenting Jesus with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Dear God, help us to be obedient like the 3 magi – following where you are leading. Help us to recognise you better in this world and to follow the guidance you have given to us. Amen.
I hope this blog has helped you to look at the Christmas story in a new way and to spend more time talking with God! Can you think of other parts of the Christmas story that we could pray through?