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This prayer uses art to bring one to a meditative/contemplative state. Download the document to view the artwork and read the scriptural passage. It includes several components:

lectio/listening: Be still in mind and body. Breathe slowly, calling on the Holy Spirit to fill your heart. Savor the text and notice any word or phrase that captures your attention.

visio/gazing: Gaze at the artwork before you. Let each figure teach you something about how to trust and follow Jesus. Notice what captures your attention in the artwork.

meditatio/reflection: Reflect on what you have seen and heard. How do you connect with the reading and the artwork? You may consider one of these questions in your reflection:

  • Imagine yourself in the position of one of the figures in the Nativity scene. What would you have seen, heard, touched, and smelled if you were there?
  • Amidst the turmoil of their world, the Holy Family, the shepherds, and the Magi found joy in the birth of Christ. Where can we find joy in the Christmas story even when our world seems dark and difficult?
  • Christmas is possible because of Mary’s answer to the call to bear Jesus in her womb and give birth to Him. How can we answer God’s call in our lives, nurture His love, and bring His light into the world?
  • When has nature left you in awe? Reflect on the wonder of God’s creation in light of the birth of Christ.

oratio/prayer: When you are ready, speak to God about what you are noticing. This is a conversation from your heart with the Lord.

contemplatio/contemplation: The Nativity is filled with quiet awe. Spend some silent moments allowing God to be present in your innermost being. Rest in silence with God. Open yourself to whatever kind of new birth God desires to work within you.

actio/action: God’s word gradually but surely transforms us into a greater expression of Christ in the world. Ask God how He wants you to live out anything that came up during this time of prayer.


Marian Library, Nativity meditation, prayer, contemplation