The Way of the Nativity

The Way of the Nativity is a set of fourteen devotions in the same spirit and style as the the ancient Christian devotion of the Way of the Cross. While there are several versions of the Way of the Nativity, there is no official or dominant one. The stations and Scripture selections presented here were prepared for A Collection of Prayers.

The versicle and response, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, …” is from the Christmas Day Gospel, John 1:14.

The prayers that follow each scriptural devotion are newly written for A Collection of Prayers. The first line of each prayer, “Jesus, brightness of your Father…” is taken from a hymn by Rhabanus Maurus, Tibi, Christe, splendor Patris.

Except where noted otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, www.wartburgproject.org.

All art is by James Tissot except for the ninth station. The illustration for the ninth station is by Guido Reni.

The readings, prayers and art are available as a downloadable pdf, printable as a booklet.

First Station: The Annunciation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.” But she was greatly troubled by the statement and was wondering what kind of greeting this could be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.” Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Listen, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age even though she was called barren, and this is her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible for God.” Then Mary said, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26–38

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
calm our troubled hearts
with the word of your promise,
for nothing is impossible for you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Second Station: The Visitation

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!” Luke 1:39–45

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have shown us your Father’s favor
by coming here to be our Savior.
Grant that we also may believe your promises,
and receive your blessings;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Third Station: The Song of Mary

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46–55 ESV

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you have done mighty things
and looked with favor on us,
your lowly servants.
Help your servants
that we may remember your mercy
and magnify your holy name;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourth Station: The Dream of Joseph

The +  Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother, Mary, was pledged in marriage to Joseph. Before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her. So he decided to divorce her privately. But as he was considering these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son. And they will name him Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him. He took Mary home as his wife, but he was not intimate with her until she gave birth to her firstborn son. And he named him Jesus.” Matthew 1:18–25

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you became like us in every way,
yet you were without sin.
Save us from our sins
through your pure and holy sacrifice;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fifth Station: The Journey to Bethlehem

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governing Syria. And everyone went to register, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child. Luke 2:1–5

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
guide every event in our lives
for your highest purpose
and for our good,
until we arrive in your house,
and stand before your throne;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Sixth Station: The Birth of Jesus

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6–7

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
make room for yourself in our hearts,
that you may dwell there
until we dwell in heaven with you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Seventh Station: The Announcement of the Angels

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There were in the same country shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified! But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people: Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude from the heavenly army, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward mankind.” Luke 2:8–14

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
show us your glory
that we may not be afraid,
but be amazed at your humility
and the hidden glory of your love;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eighth Station: The Shepherds Come to the Manger

The + Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Now let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they told others the message they had been told about this child. And all who heard it were amazed by what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:15–20

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
amaze us
with the good news of great joy,
and open our mouths
to tell all we have heard and seen;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Ninth Station: The Name of Jesus

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After eight days passed, when the child was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you were given the name
that is above every name,
that name that means
Yahweh is Salvation.[1]
Reveal that name to us
that we may know you,
accept your truth,
and trust you;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Tenth Station: The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. (As it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be called holy to the Lord.”) And they came to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the comfort of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was customary according to the law, Simeon took him into his arms and praised God. He said, Lord, you now dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. Luke 2:22–32

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
you fulfilled all of the law,
so that you could be
our holy and righteous Savior.
Reveal your light to us,
be our glory,
and make us your new chosen Israel;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Eleventh Station: The Visit of the Wise Men

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. He gathered together all the people’s chief priests and experts in the law. He asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because this was written through the prophet: You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are certainly not least among the rulers of Judah: because out of you will come a ruler, who will shepherd my people, Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the Wise Men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I may also go and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. Then the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them, until it stood still over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with overwhelming joy. After they went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route. Matthew 2:1–12

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
shine like the brightest star
in the darkness of this world
and in the darkness of our hearts.
Shepherd us, your people,
and receive our prayer, praise and worship;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Twelfth Station: The Flight to Egypt

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After the Wise Men were gone, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. He said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod will search for the child in order to kill him.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and left for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod. This happened to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13–15

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
as Israel lived in Egypt
until you led them out by Moses,
you lived in Egypt
until you could return in safety.
Bless and keep
all who live under the shadow of trouble,
and when the time is right,
lead them on;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Thirteenth Station: The Death of the Innocents

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Wise Men, he was furious. He issued orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under. This was in keeping with the exact time he had learned from the Wise Men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they are no more. Matthew 2:16–18

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
the darkness of this world
fills our hearts with pain
and our eyes with tears.
Wipe away all tears
and hold your promise before our eyes
that you have overcome the world;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.

Fourteenth Station: The Return to Nazareth

TheWord became flesh and dwelt among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. The angel said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus, Herod’s son, had succeeded his father as ruler in Judea, he was afraid to go there. Since he had been warned in a dream, he went to the region of Galilee. When he arrived there, he settled in a city called Nazareth. So what was spoken through the prophets was fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:19–23

Jesus, brightness of your Father,
your heavenly and earthly fathers kept you safe,
even as the devil and the world
raged against you,
until the appointed time.
Keep us safe from all danger
until you finally deliver us from all evil
when you take us to yourself;
you live and reign, now and forever. Amen.


[1] Jesus is the Greek form (Iesous) of the Hebrew name Joshua (Yeshua or Yehoshua) which is a combination of the divine name in the Old Testament (YHWH, sometimes rendered in English as Yahweh or Jehovah) and the Hebrew word for save.

Scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version

Prayers are written for A Collection of Prayers, © 2021 Paul C. Stratman

Art is by James Tissot from his Gospel Harmony Series.

Art for the ninth station is by Guido Reni (1575-1642).

All images are in the public domain.

See also:

Praying with the Readings: Historic Lectionary

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cover-historic-1.png
  • Prayers of the church for every Sunday of the church year
  • Flexible responsive prayer format with scriptural responses and options for traditional litany responses
  • Prayers for higher festivals are written in a traditional litany format
  • Downloadable as a single package
  • Seasonal litanies are available for separate purchase
  • Directions for use with the Christian Worship 1993 One-Year Lectionary are given in the notes
  • Each zip package contains files in Word (docx), PDF and Rich Text Format (rtf)

Praying with the Readings: Historic Lectionary ~ Complete Download Package

  • Zip package contains files in Word (docx), PDF and Rich Text Format (rtf)
  • Individual files for each Sunday’s prayer in rtf format is provided in a separate folder for convenience.

Price $28.00. To purchase through SendOwl, click “Buy Now!” below.

Prayers of the Church-Historic: Seasonal and Festival Litanies Only

Module contains seasonal and festival litanies from the other modules including litanies for…

  • Advent
  • Christmas (2)
  • Epiphany
  • Transfiguration
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Palm Sunday
  • Passion Sunday
  • Easter (3)
  • Ascension
  • Pentecost
  • Holy Trinity
  • Last Sunday of the Church Year

Price $7. To purchase through SendOwl, click “Buy Now!” below.

Praying with the Readings: Revised Common Lectionary, Year C

  • Prayers of the church for every Sunday of the church year
  • Based on the Revised Common Lectionary
  • Compatible with many three-year lectionaries.
  • Flexible responsive prayer format with scriptural responses and options for traditional litany responses
  • A similar product, written specifically for users of the lectionary for Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021) is also in development. Download a free, usable preview of Year B here.

Praying with the Readings: Revised Common Lectionary, Year C ~ Download Package

  • Zip file contains files in Word (docx), Portable Document Format (pdf), and Rich Text Format (rtf)
  • Individual files for each Sunday’s prayer in rtf format is provided in a separate folder for convenience.

For order, file and payment management we use the service www.sendowl.com

$28.00

Now and Forever, Now Available as Digital Download

Now and Forever: New Collects for Modern Lectionaries

Now and Forever is a prayer resource based on the Revised Common Lectionary and is adaptable to lectionaries in Lutheran Service Book, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal (1993) and Christian Worship: Hymnal (2021). Also usable with many other three-year lectionaries.

The prayers, all newly composed, are written in classic collect form and find their themes in the readings for each Sunday in the lectionary. This book gives additional options for the Prayer of the Day/Opening Prayer. These prayers may also be used for concluding petitions in the Prayer of the Church (Prayers of Intercession or Prayers of the People) or may be used as closing prayers that fit thematically with the readings of the day. Pastors, lectors and worship planners may find this to be a valuable resource for prayers in the worship service.

Files are included with the prayers rearranged for use with the readings of the Historic Lectionary.

This resource is also available in book form through Amazon.com.

Download package contains prayers for every Sunday and Festival in the Revised Common Lectionary in Word (docx), PDF and Rich Text Format (rtf). There are two sets of files. One set has the prayers in sense-line (poetic) format and the other set has the prayers in paragraph format. See below for an example of one of the prayers in both sense-line and paragraph formats.

Ash Wednesday

A

(Sense-line format)

God of unfailing love,
have mercy on us.
Work godly sorrow in our hearts.
See what is unseen in us
and forgive us.
Renew and refresh us
by your Holy Spirit;
through your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. [47]

(Paragraph format)

God of unfailing love, have mercy on us. Work godly sorrow in our hearts. See what is unseen in us and forgive us. Renew and refresh us by your Holy Spirit; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. [47]

To preview more, see Now and Forever: Easter Sampler

Purchase and Download, $5.00

For those who have already purchased the book, enter the first word of prayer [141] as a coupon code (Look for “Got a code?” at checkout) and get the download for $1.00!

Lenten Responsive Prayers

In Christian Worship: Occasional Services (p. 152), readings from Matthew, Mark and Luke are offered as an option for the readings in midweek Lenten services. Readings for Year B are as follows:

Ash Wednesday – Ash Wednesday lessons
Second Midweek – Mark 14:1-26
Third Midweek – Mark 14:27-42
Fourth Midweek – Mark 14:43-65
Fifth Midweek – Mark 14:66–15:15
Sixth Midweek – Mark 15:16-47

A Collection of Prayers: Digital Products presents Lenten Responsive Prayers: Year B, prayers written to complement the Passion Readings for Year B from the Gospel of Mark.

ZIP package contains…

  • Litany of Repentance for Ash Wednesday
  • Prayers of the Church based on the readings from the Gospel of Mark for Lenten Midweek Services, responses taken from the seven penitential psalms
  • a Prayer of the Church for Holy Week, based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 and John 12:20-36

ZIP file for purchase contains files in Word (docx), PDF and Rich Text Format (rtf).

For order, file and payment management we use the service www.sendowl.com.

$3.00