, ,

Posadas Liturgy

A couple of months ago (2016), my church asked me to plan a Posadas Christmas Pageant. Wahoo – this was going to be fun! And it was, but not in the way I was expecting…not at all

For those who are not familiar, The Posadas is a Christmas pageant of Latin America. In it, parishioners and villagers parade, singing carols through the town, walking toward the church, behind Mary and Joseph. Along the way, the two travelers knock on several doors, and each home rejects them as the crowd jeers. It is a pageant of solidarity and support. “We are the people,” the crowd seems to chant, “we would have taken you.”…maybe you’re starting to see the problem. As I started my research, I knew almost immediately – we can’t celebrate this pageant, not in this way, not with a large group of Anglo Americans.

I was watching, heart in my hand, as Donald Trump wrapped up his campaign for presidency, politicizing the migrant crisis with chants like, “build a wall,” and “keep them out.” Over the past year, I had been called an idiot and naive by family for remembering refugees in the mealtime prayer. I had received a letter of reproach from our Senator for publicly supporting the admission of Guatemalan minors into our state. I had spent weeks in the summer culling hate mail out of my inbox after I relayed the facts of a proposed resettlement in baldwin county, adjacent to my family’s land, to a community bulletin. For weeks, I was sent accusations of my ignorance and self-loathing, not-so-subtle reminders that these brown people would take our rights and ruin our schools, that our playgrounds would become drug-lots, that my backyard would soon be a haven for gang violence. I watched as the yards of my dearest friends and family filled with signs of support for Trump, a man who provoked and capitalized on unfounded fears about terrorism and rape – who meant to make us too afraid to have faith, too deaf to hear the gospel, and too blind to see the holy family.

At the time of Trump’s tweet a total of 2,200 out of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees had been admitted to the US since the conflict began in 2011. A whopping 67% of applicants for Obamas meager 2016 goal of 10,000 are children under the age of 12. My heart was broken – it remains broken. For my friends and I, it is as though the generation who raised us to be a voice of compassion, were refusing to see Christ in the face of the other. Confronted with our tears and unrest, our parents chose silence over curiosity, unable to tolerate or express even the idea of faith-driven hospitality – a hurt so deep I know I will never recover.

After much prayer and a tentative admission to my priest about my concerns, it became quite clear that we needed to design a pageant that would surely feature knocking and doors. But when those doors opened, it needed to be us on the inside, and them on the out. We needed to use the Posada rhythms to forge a way toward realization, repentance, and invitation. We also needed to leave room for subtlety, we needed to extend grace to those who hadn’t seen the Holy Family through this lens before. Mercy and not shame were our goals. This would not be easy.

So we started trudging forward. It would be three acts, one for rejection, one for repentance, and one for welcome. The door would open and close once on the posada icon. The door would then be opened on the cross before the final litany – which would be read from the audience, an offering of sacrificial welcoming to the unknown other, in faith that Christ’s call of radical hospitality is worth following. Click the link below or the picture above for a PDF of the liturgical script with direction prompts.

Posadas Liturgy

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

What a gift – this book! A perfect companion to Tomie De Paola’s The Night of Las Posadas, or as a stand-alone introduction to the reality of Refugees. The illustrations are absolutely bananas, and the words are pointed and perfect. Without being too much, or overwhelming, this story is told simply, from the perspective of a migrant child, fleeing war. It create sympathy in adults and empathy in children. The questions it leaves unanswered allow for fruitful and important conversations. This book has my full support. If I could hang it on my wall I would. I want prints from it. I want to give it to all of my friends…and I just may.

The reason I chose to feature this book review with this liturgy is simply this: The purpose of our “pageant” is to ground the Christmas Story in a reality that is close to home. We wanted to take the narrative away from the great catholic commissions of the renaissance, and allow the heart to open a little more to the stranger beside us right this instant.

 

 

I am Mary. 14 years old, A political refugee, shameful to my family and my betrothed.

Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Caravaggio – they gave you someone to celebrate – white-faced, pristine, and lovely. But that is not me. I am the one you despise. It is into an oppressed and terrified body that the God became flesh. Logos into chaos. Filthy, the dust of war on my face, The savior in my belly.

I think we miss the gospel…because it looks too much like the cover of Newsweek, and not enough like the art in our museums.

, ,

Rima Joy’s Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar Boxes

Rima Joy is back! – and this time she is bringing you a reusable advent calendar that you can make yourself. We love making an advent calendar, but having to do it every year can be tedious. Here, she is helping us get crafty and make something unique – and then we get to keep using it every year! She has shown you her special way, but I think you can do all sorts of fun things to make the bones of this craft especially yours. Take it away, Rima:

I’ve always loved anticipating Christmas. As a kid, months before any decorations were up at the mall, I would be scouring our toy magazines, circling items that caught my eye. My excitement only grew once the Christmas music, the decorating, the baking, and—in full disclosure—the present peaking began. I’m not sure why my mom thought the guest room was a good place to hide gifts. So obvious.

Well, now I’m an adult with my own children, and it’s time to get them excited for Christmas! I don’t think I’ll have a hard time getting my sons to follow in my footsteps. They were asking for Christmas music in October! But I don’t want them to only be excited about lights, snowmen, and presents. I pray that the time leading up to Christmas will help our sons grow in their excitement and understanding of the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ, God in human flesh, the Savior of the world.

Using an advent calendar is a great way to build anticipation and explore the mystery of the incarnation (God made man) at the same time. I’ve put together a list of 25 passages from scripture to use (along with chocolate of course!) in a handmade advent calendar for our family. Each passage focuses on a simple sentence about who Jesus is or why he came, and the last couple of passages focus on the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. We read one passage a day to help us celebrate the advent season.  Would you like to join in our tradition?

Click Here to Download Rima’s Daily Scriptures Printable

Supplies Needed:

  • 25 small favor tins (You can find these in the wedding section at craft stores.)
  • 2-3 sheets of Christmas cardstock
  • Numbers 1-25 (I found cute Christmas card stock with numbers on it and just cut the numbers out. You can also use numbered stickers or write/stamp your own numbers and then cut them out. )
  • Blue gel school glue
  • 12×12 shadow box
  • 25 small magnets with adhesive backing
  • Print out of scripture passages
  • Acrylic craft paint and sponge brush (optional)
Prepping the shadow box:
  1. If desired, paint the shadow box with the craft paint and allow to dry.
  2. Once dry, apply the magnets to the box. The magnets will hold the tins in place. To ensure that the magnets line up properly, I used the following process:
  • Place a magnet on the bottom of each tin (the adhesive side of the magnet should be facing out).
  • While the magnets are still on the tins, peel off the protective papers from each magnet.
  • Line up the tins in the shadow box, and press down firmly so the adhesive from the magnet sticks to the shadow box.
Prepping the tins:
  1. Cut the Christmas card stock into 25 5x5cm squares.
  2. Take the lid of one of the tins, and place 5 dabs of glue underneath the lid (see image). Place a square of cardstock underneath the lid, so that the pattern shows through on the front of the lid. Repeat the process for each lid.
  3. If you are not using stickers, cut out your numbers.
  4. Center and glue (or stick!) each number to the top of the lids.
  5. Allow the lids to dry overnight before placing them back on the tin.

Assembling the Calendar:

  1. Cut each day’s scripture reading into a strip. Fold each strip and place in the corresponding tin. We like to include a little piece of chocolate too.
  2. Put the tins inside the shadow box in order, and you’re ready to go!

Thank you so much for letting me share with you today! I hope you enjoy our tradition as much as we do.