The manger scene has a special place near the Christmas tree or in another place where family members can reflect and pray during the Christmas season. It is blessed each year on Christmas eve or Christmas day.
All make the sign of the cross as the minister says:
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who made heaven and earth.
One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example:
Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the holy gospel according to Luke: 2: 1– 8
The birth of Jesus
Now at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census —the first—took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him i a manger because there was no room for them at the inn. In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night.
A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.
God of every nation and people,
from the very beginning of creation
you have made manifest your love.
When our need for a Saviour was great,
you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.
To our lives he brings joy and peace,
justice, mercy, and love.
Lord, bless all who look upon this manger;
may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus
and raise our thoughts to him,
who is God-with-us and Saviour of all,
and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
God of Mary and Joseph, of shepherds and animals,
bless us whenever we gaze on this manger scene.
Through all the days of Christmas
may these figures tell the story
of how humans, angels, and animals
found the Christ in this poor place.
Fill our house with hospitality, joy,
gentleness, and thanksgiving,
and guide our steps in the way of peace.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
This blessing is extracted from A Handbook of Prayers. Beautifully illustrated, divided into 20 sections, featuring hundreds of prayers, the Handbook sets out practical ways to grow in your faith, alongside the basic tenets of the Catholic faith.
For more prayers and blessings, and to support the mission of CTS, order your copy of A Handbook of Prayers today.