The Christmas season invites us to embrace St. Ignatius’s invitation to savor the things that satisfy the soul. My reality during the Christmas season does not always offer long, lingering moments of pause to relish and savor, because it overlaps with the weeks our children are out of school. Instead, our home is filled with the gifts of noise and activity.
At one time in my life, I might have judged my prayer during those weeks with no school feeling as if my prayer were not good enough or not quiet enough. As I prepare to enter my 17th Christmas season as a mother, I know that God is going to open multiple moments in my days that provide ample opportunity for me to relish the gifts unfolding before me. I know, too, that God will provide a few minutes each day to pray an Examen that invites a deeper savoring of the Christmas season.
This year, I wrote a Christmas Examen to help me relish the gifts of the season. I offer it below as a guide for all of us to take a few minutes each day to celebrate and savor the birth of Jesus in our lives.
Praying for the Birth
Jesus, the announcement of your birth came to your mother via an angel who hailed her as, “favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). I know you are with me in this Christmas season. As I begin my Christmas Examen, please open my eyes, ears, mind, and heart to your nearness, your presence, and your birth in my life.
Savoring the Gifts
Jesus, the Magi journeyed far to bring you gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Each day you offer me gifts as they did you. Please show me the gifts you offered me this day. May I offer each gift back to you as a gesture of thanksgiving for your birth.
Experiencing the Birth of Christ
Jesus, you came into the world bearing light and hope. The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and Scripture reminds us that the “glory of the Lord shone around them” (Luke 2:9). We continue to experience your birth each day. Please show me the ways you came to me in my day offering your gifts of light, hope, and peace. Help me savor these moments of your birth and acknowledge them as gifts this Christmas.
Praying for Christ to Come Again
Jesus, John’s Gospel reminds us that your birth shone light into the darkness, “and the darkness did not overcome it” (1:5). I experience darkness in me, in my life, and in our world. Please give me your eyes to see the places you long to enter, and bring light and healing to my life today. Show me the places I did not bear your light to another. Fix my eyes on you, the way the Magi followed the star to find you. May you come and enter my life again and again.
Jesus, all who encountered you at your birth paid you homage. The Magi knelt and brought offerings. The shepherds heard the heavenly host proclaiming and joined them in praising God for your birth. As I look ahead to the coming day during this Christmas season, show me the places you need me to bring messages of faith, hope, and peace. In my next 24 hours, may I herald the reason for joy in our lives through my words and actions.