Shelter seeking is an old custom reminding us of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter when the Savior was about to be born. At Bethlehem there was no room for them in the inn. Will they find shelter with us today when they come to our home pleading for shelter and acceptance? Shelter seeking is a novena in preparation for Christ’s coming, for Christmas. We want to open wide our hearts for Christ and his mother.
The novena usually begins on December 15th and ends on December 24th. We can begin this novena by preparing a special place for the Blessed Mother in our home. Each day we bring our picture or statue of the Blessed Mother to a different room in our house and offer her a special place of honor in that particular room for the entire day. Each night when we arrive at the next room, we could use the below suggested readings and meditation. The following meditation can also be used as a novena without the shelter seeking ceremony.
Try it! Set aside a few minutes each day before Christmas for this interior preparation and you will see how much more meaningful Christmas will become for you this year!
How to conduct Shelter Seeking
Prepare a place of honor for Our Lady and her Child. You may use either a picture or stature and a candle.
Welcome Our Lady and her Son on the first evening of the Novena with a prayer of your own choosing or use the Prayer of Welcome below...
Mother Mary, please help us to make our home bright and full of love, ready for your little son to be born again on Christmas night. Like you we want to make Him welcome so that He will be happy when He comes to stay here in our home. We have our presents, nearly ready, of kind deeds, healing hands, kind words, smiling eyes, of sharing and of saving for the poor, because we know that it gives Him joy on Christmas Day to bring a smile of happiness to faces that are often sad. He wants to come not just to us, He wants to come to everyone. Teach us, Mother, how to prepare as you did. Amen.
Involve every member of the family, let the children say their own prayers.
You may want to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary on this opening day of the novena.
The picture/statue starts out from e.g. the living room on the first day of the novena and stays there for that evening, moving to another room on the next evening and so on until the end of the novena. You may have to visit the same room more then once.
The goal is to pray as a family each evening, reminding yourselves of the presence of Christ and His Mother in your home. Our hearts must be ready to welcome the Savior
Resources from: Wonder of Advent; The celebration of Advent in our Homes