Discovering Gods love of and longing to embrace our humanity.
Preparing for this period of Prayer
I take the usual time to place myself consciously before God in reverence. I keep in mind that God looks upon me with great love and I ask that everything in my day be more and more directed towards becoming the loving person I and God long for me to be.
I then ask for what I desire: to know Jesus intimately, to love him more intensely, and so to follow him more closely.
The following description is an attempt to point out some of the ways of entering into the style of prayer called "Ignatian contemplation." The description in words can make it sound very mechanical. To remember that the act of praying is our single focus will pour life-blood into the dead body of words.
The familiar story of the Nativity should allow me the more easily to be present fully to the persons and places of this mystery. Whatever methods help me enter into the whole scene and to be with the persons involved I should embrace.
To be able to enter into the deep-down stillness of this night, to be able to see this very human baby with all the wonder which comes from eyes of faith, to watch how Mary and Joseph handle themselves, their own response to God at this time - these are various aspects or focuses of the mystery to which I may find myself drawn.
In comparison with our previous contemplation's way of entering into a gospel mystery by looking with God's eyes, now I rather place myself into the scene, perhaps being one who tries to help and serve, with all possible respect and reverence. I should take note of the hardship which is already so much a part of Jesus' presence in our world.
The labors of the journey to Bethlehem, the struggles of finding a shelter, the poverty, hunger, thirst, the cold, the insults which meet the arrival of God-with-us: all this from the beginning so that Jesus might die on the cross - for me. I will reflect in this way to draw some spiritual profit.
Now read slowly, Luke 2: 1-7 - and reflect on it as suggested above.
Move into a Conversation/Dialogue (similar to what is suggested below)
According to the different aspects which I may focus upon at any one time within the prayer period, I respond accordingly, for example, to Mary, Joseph, Jesus, God the Father. Perhaps there is little to say because this style of contemplation is often more a "being with" experience than a word-response.
Conclude the period of prayer with the Lords Prayer.