Today, we’re praying with three verses from Luke, chapter 2, so it will be up to your imagination to create all the action here! As we pray our way through Luke’s narrative of the birth of Jesus, today we meet the shepherds who encounter an angel announcing the birth of Jesus.
- Begin by trusting that God is present in your imagination. Ask for the awareness to notice this presence.
- Read Luke 2:8-11.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Christ, the Lord. (NRSV)
- On the first reading, simply take in the details of the story. Pause in silence. Then read it a second time, slowly, allowing your mind to visualize the scene.
- With your mind’s eye, see the shepherds living in the fields. Visualize the fields at night. In your imagination, picture you are one of the shepherds. Have a conversation with the others. See the flocks.
- Then you see an angel standing before you. Let yourself visualize this angel. What does the glory of the Lord look like to you? How do you feel before it? Are you terrified? Imagine you did not already know what was happening — how would it be to see and hear an angel of the Lord?
- Hear the angel’s pronouncement. Imagine your sense of wonder as the angel tells you he or she is bringing “good news of great joy for all the people.” Ponder the news. “To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
- Have a conversation with the angel. Ask him or her anything on your heart.
- Let your imagination have freedom as you allow the scene to change in any way you feel inspired. Imagine what more there is to the story than what is recorded in scripture. Linger and interact with the characters there. What are you doing? Do you go off to tell someone about your experience? How do you describe what happened?
- When you feel finished with the imagination exercise, think about what it means to have an angel appear to a field worker to announce God’s good news. How does what you experienced in this prayer connect with your life today?
- Conclude with a short prayer of thanks for all you experienced in this prayer.