The book that accompanied me for Advent through Christmas was Blessed Anne Catherine Emerich’s “The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” as recommended by www.knitinmywomb.blogspot.com I’m so glad I picked it up (99cents at amazon.com) Her visions are also available in Raphael Brown’s “The Life of Mary as seen by the mystics”—which I wholeheartedly recommend for Advent and beyond. Here is an excerpt of what Blessed Anne Catherine saw on the first Christmas:
“At midnight, [the Blessed Virgin Mary] was rapt in an ecstasy of prayer. I saw her lifted from the eart, so that I saw the ground beneath her. Her hands were crossed on her breast. The radiance about her increased; everything, even things without life, were in a joyful inner motion, the stone of the roof, of the walls, and of the floor of the cave became as it were alive in the light. Then I no longer saw the roof of the cave; a pathway of light opened above Mary, rising with ever-increasing glory towards the height of heaven.
In this pathway of light there was a wonderful movement of glories interpenetrating each other, and, as they approached, appearing more clearly int eh form of choirs of heavenly spirits. Meanwhile, the Blessed Virgin, borne up in ecstasy, was now gazing downwards, adoring her God, whose Mother she had become and who lay on the earth before her in the form of a helpless newborn child.
I saw our Redeemer as a tiny child, shining with a light that overpowered all the surrounding radiance…I saw her laying a cloth over the Child…”