Welcome! You must have heard the news! Though I’m not surprised. When the shepherds left they were so filled with joy that they ran about town hoopin’ and hollerin’, sharing the good news and encouraging others to come here. I don’t blame them; I mean, this is pretty incredible, and to think that he was born right here in our little stable, just behind our inn! It really does fill you with awe.
Now, you’re welcome to go up and see the baby, but he’s sleeping, so be a bit quiet. But that’s just as well because there’s really no need to say anything; in fact, it’s better if you just sit and behold the miracle of what’s happening here. You can sit quietly and take it all in. Take all the time you need, there’s plenty of room. And I see you’ve brought your prayer beads with you! That’s great. Feel free to use them to really behold.
Peace be with you, and glory to God in the highest!
Invitatory Bead: “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16, NIV)
1st Cruciform Bead: Behold the baby – which is Christ the Lord – lying in a manger.
1st set of Week Beads: use each bead to see Jesus, to watch him sleep, to behold his birth, and to revel in the fact that God is with us.
2nd Cruciform Bead: Behold his parents, Mary and Joseph, as they watch over him.
2nd set of Week Beads: use each bead to see Mary and Joseph as they look with love upon their newborn son. See them as they watch this reception by the shepherds and other locals, as they hear the glad tidings of the angels, and as they ponder in their hearts what it means that Jesus – their tiny baby – is the Son of God.
3rd Cruciform Bead: Behold the shepherds and other local visitors as they come to see this baby wrapped in swaddling cloths.
3rd set of Week Beads: use each bead to watch as people arrive to see this baby, having just heard that this is the Messiah, the one that has been promised by God throughout the generations. Observe as they witness how God has fulfilled His promise and begin to realize the miracle that is unfolding before them.
4th Cruciform Bead: Behold the angels who proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14, NIV)
4th set of Week Beads: use each bead to hear the angels rejoicing as they spread the good news of Christ’s birth to all of creation.
Invitatory Bead: recite The Lord’s Prayer
Cross: In the name and spirit of Christ Jesus, who is born this day, Amen.
(Our thanks to Pamela Hawkins and The Upper Room for sharing Pamela’s book, Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent, which inspired and encouraged us to “behold” this season.)