Arts & Faith: Christmas Imaginative Prayer Exercise

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Each week of Advent, we’ve provided an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Advent. Today we share the video and prayer for Christmas Day.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

—John 1:5

Preparation

As we begin this time of quiet prayer, I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit with your back straight and your legs planted on the ground. Allow yourself to notice your breathing as you breathe normally. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Take a few moments and close your eyes, preparing yourself to listen to what God may be saying to you during this prayer. As you sit with your eyes closed, use these or similar words: “Here I am, Lord. Here I am.” When you are ready, open your eyes and pray.

The light shines in the darkness.

Imagine you are walking along a country road at night. You see so many stars that you cannot stop looking up. It reminds you of when you were a child and would lie on the grass in the summer and look up at the brilliant night sky. Though it’s dark, you are not afraid. In the distance, you notice a warm, yellow glow of light coming from a house. You are drawn to the house. As you walk up the path, you feel like you may be intruding, but you knock on the door anyway. Something is drawing you to this place. A small older woman answers the door. She is bent over from arthritis. Her fingers are gnarled. She looks up at you. Smiling, she says, “Please come in. I’ve been expecting you.” You wonder how she knows you. What do you say to her?

She invites you to sit at the small kitchen table. There are place settings for two. “Are you hungry?” she asks. “I’ve baked bread and made some jam. I’ll put the kettle on.” You look around her tiny home. You see pictures of people everywhere. Perhaps they are her family, you think. Her home is warm and cozy. You are feeling so comfortable. She turns to you. Her face is so alive. Her eyes are bright and clear. She sits down across from you and asks you, “What are you looking for on this dark night?” What do you say to her? What does she say back to you?

She gets up to make the tea. She brings back to the table slices of warm bread, butter, and jam. The tea smells like wildflowers. You sit in silence, buttering your bread and spreading it with jam. “You may feel lost,” she says. “But you’re not.” Are there places in your life you feel lost?

The woman looks into your eyes and tells you, “You’re not lost, because I’m always with you. You may not feel me, or know that I’m there, but I am.” You gaze into her eyes and feel you are being wrapped in her arms. “No one is ever lost. I am with them like a guiding star.” What do you want to say to her? Is there something you want to give to her at this moment?

The sun begins to rise. You can see the soft dawn light separating the night from the day. She turns to you with a smile that is filled with joy. “The light led you here through the darkness. Now the light of the sun will lead you on. My light is always here for you anytime, anywhere. Remember, you are always walking in the light.”

You get up to go but feel like you want to stay. She smiles and opens the door for you. The sun is bright. You walk out the door and turn back to see her surrounded by the warm glow of the sun. What do you want to say to her? As you walk away, the warm, life-giving light of the sun surrounds you.

Who are the people in your life that have shown you the light when you felt lost or surrounded by darkness? Give thanks for them today when the Light of the World was born.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

About Steve Connor 21 Articles
Steve Connor has served in various catechetical positions for over 30 years. As a pastoral associate, Steve worked with RCIA, adult education, and family faith formation. He has given numerous parish missions and retreats throughout the United States. Steve has a M.Div. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

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