Through Lent and Passiontide, there has been a long tradition in the Church of meditating on the events of the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, called the Stations of the Cross. In the latter part of the twentieth century a complementary devotion emerged called the Stations of the Resurrection or the Stations of Joy. Similarly, the Stations of the Nativity service is a modern complementary companion to both of these other services. In the yearly keeping of these three services, we have an annual rhythm and dance situated around three Great moments in the life of Jesus our Lord: his birth, his death, his resurrection from the dead. These moments themselves capture, in large part, the fullness and meaning of his person and work.
As with the other station services, we move from station to station, reading an appropriate Bible passage and meditating on it. Far too often, the celebration of Christmas is collapsed down to a single day. The stations provide the space and time to prayerfully reflect on the entire story, starting with the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah and ending with the return to Nazareth. The stations help us to see “the grit” and reality of the Christmas story. “For us…he was made man.” Jesus entered, not into the land of “far, far away” but into our world. And so, the Christmas story includes commemorations we’d rather forget, moments like the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. It also includes moments we might never think to meditate on, such as the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus.