The following Christmas meditation is adapted was written by Sr. Kieran Sawyer, SSND. Read it to your class in a moment of quiet meditation. See the assignments below as possible follow-up.
The Christmas Star: A Meditation
Imagine that is a beautiful Christmas Eve. You decide you need some space and fresh air, so you go for a walk by yourself. Imagine yourself walking along. Snow is falling gently, and the flakes float down lazily, resting on your cheeks and eyelashes. You scuff your feet as you walk cutting a new trail in the snow. It feels good to be alone. The stillness of the night seems to still your mind and your heart. Silent night, holy night, you think, humming he ancient melody softly in your mind. Continue this imaginary evening walk, sensing as deeply as you can the calm and peace of the true Christmas spirit. (Pause)
You’ve been so lost in your thought you haven’t paid much attention to where you were going. Suddenly you realize that you’ve left the city behind. You look around, trying to get your bearings. You see that you are out in the countryside, walking through gently rolling hills. It has stopped snowing and the sky is filled with stars. You look up into the sky. The stars are magnificent! One star in particular captures your attention. It’s shaped like something of a cross, and it glows with a long trail of light that seems reach all the way to earth. You think this is crazy; this is not the first century. This is [your state], not Bethlehem. But you follow the star anyway; more out of curiosity than anything else, just to see where it will take you. And sure enough, the star leads you across the field to a little cave in the side of the hill. You’re beginning to feel shy now, wondering what you’ll say to Mary and Joseph if you find them in the cave. But as you near the cave, it appears to be empty and dark. You look again at your star. Yes, it’s still pointing to this cave. You follow the star with your eyes. It moves slowly down the sky and right into the empty cave. The star fills every corner of the cave with light. You enter the cave cautiously. Everything is here the way you remember it from your childhood. Christmas books—the stable, the manger, the straw—but no animals and no Holy Family. The star hovers like a gentle light over the empty manger. You have a sense that something mysterious and holy is taking place. Somehow, God seems to be here in that cave with you. And then you realize that the empty cave is really your heart and that the star is God, waiting to be invited in. Slowly, almost fearfully, you open your arms to the star, knowing that you are opening your life to God. You feel the light lf the star flooding over you. You are in the light, and the light is in you. Your heart is filled with the gentle presence of God. (Pause.)
Spend the next few moments with Jesus, the first Christmas star, the one whose name is Emmanuel, God-with-us. God is with you. Try to let the mystery penetrate your mind. God is with you. God lives in your heart. You are the Christmas star. Know that the light of God’s love is filling your whole being, flooding your mind, your body, and your heart. (Pause.)
Think now of what it means to be a star. You have a job to do. There is a dark world out there that needs the light of god’s love. Imagine yourself leaving the cave behind and walking out into the night, back across the field toward home. Imagine the real world to which you will be returning—your family, your friendship groups, your school or work place. How can you bring the light of God to the people in that world? How can you bring true Christmas peace to your loved ones, your friends, your acquaintances? (Pause.)
As you imagine yourself getting close to home, remember that God is with you. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. Today, God so loves the world that he sends you. Ask Jesus to be with you to help you to be a Christmas star.
Possible Follow-up Activities
- On paper heart cutouts, print the initials of anyone you have hurt (embarrassed, disappointed, made fun of, etc.). Also print the initials of people who have hurt you. Spend some time in quiet reflection praying for both groups of people.
- Write handwritten, thoughtful Christmas cards expressing your appreciation for five people you know. With a stamp and an envelope, put the letters in the mail.
- Sing Christmas carols together as a class.