It’s Epiphany, and a chance to stay with the nativity scene just a little longer. St Ignatius of Loyola offered a way of praying with Scripture imaginatively that can help us to hear how God continues to speak in the Gospel today. We can set ourselves in the scene, perhaps imagining ourselves to be shepherds, wise men, or simply ourselves visiting the baby Jesus. Imagine the sights and sounds that surround the Christ child. How does it all appear? What does the manger look like? What people, animals, or other sights are there? What do they say to you? How do you want to respond to the child Jesus?
One simple practice is to imagine holding the Baby Jesus in our own arms, and waiting to see what feelings and thoughts arise in us. Holding Jesus in my mind’s eye reminds me of years ago, when I held my own children and the sweetness and love of those moments that remain now. I also think of other children in the world: migrant children in need, who like Christ, had to flee the threat of violence. Children in Iran and Israel and other parts of the Middle East today who will be victims of violence unless we work for peace and diplomacy rather than turning to war.
What does the scene of the Christ child inspire in you? What gifts do you want to lay down at his feet today?