In this third week of Advent, voices from east London help us to meditate on the Birth of Jesus - the third Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

Hear them explain how meditating on Jesus' birth helps them to discern and respond to God's call on their lives.

Click here for an introduction to the People's Rosary Project, and a guide to how to pray the Rosary

Reflections on the other Joyful Mysteries - the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Presentation and Finding in the Temple - are also online

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. 

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before 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 see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 

When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Luke 2.1-20

Each day when you meditate, it might be a different insight that comes to you... each situation you bring in prayer can give you a new viewpoint on this Mystery
Caroline Alfred, Catholic Parish of Manor Park

Caroline reflects on the true meaning of Christmas, and the questions it poses for us today.

You have to connect the two, because you have to thank God for life... you can just imagine how joyful Mary must have felt
Susan Graves, Catholic Parish of Manor Park

Susan reflects on a new birth this year in her own family - and how praying the Rosary weaves together the events in the Gospel with those in our daily life.

He wanted to be close to us, he wanted to bring us salvation
Javier Melian-Perez, Catholic Parish of English Martyrs, Tower Hill

Javier reflects on the humility and vulnerability in which God has come among us - and the journey from the Crib to the Cross to bring us salvation.

From the moment of his birth, he belongs outside the realm of what is important and powerful in worldly terms.

Yet it is this unimportant and powerless child that proves to be the truly powerful one, the one on whom ultimately everything depends.

So one aspect of becoming a Christian is having to leave behind what everyone else thinks and wants, the prevailing standards, in order to enter the light of the truth of our being, and aided by that light to find the right path.

Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth

You are invited to pray the Rosary now.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus, to whom you, O Virgin, gave birth.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

If you have not prayed the Rosary before, you can read our introductory page here.

Click here for reflections on the fourth and fifth Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary: the Presentation and the Finding of Christ in the Temple (Luke 2.22-51).

If you would like to pray the Rosary in an online group this Advent, email peoplesrosary [at] theology-centre.org

The People's Rosary is a project of the Centre for Theology and Community and De Mazenod Retreat House in east London.

We are grateful for the support of the Lady Peel Trust in developing this project.