Manger on the Streets: Nativity in 2018
National Council of Churches in India
Christmas Programme – 2018
Manger on the Streets
Venue: Srishti Lawn, NCCI Campus Date: 18/12/2018 Time: 6:00 pm
“We need to fight for the sick child, the woman in sanctuary, the migrant family, the transgender teenager, the homeless veteran, the young black man at the traffic stop,; because when we do, we are perpetuating the heart of the Middle Eastern child, born under duress, amid the smell of damn straw and animal dung—the one who turned the world upside down in the name of a compassion that knew no borders and a love that had no walls.”
Good Evening!! Christmas is on the verge. What is Christmas?Is it yet another festive of celebration? Certainly not. It is an emotion. It is a harvest of memory of God acknowledging God’s humanity and humans realizing their divinity. Christmas is when Christ – the Creativity of God – took flesh in Jesus. So come let us try to comprehend the incomprehensible mystery of Incarnation.
Skit: Christ – less Christmas
(A woman hears the voice of Jesus expressing his desire to dine in her home. The woman feels overwhelmed and starts cleaning her house. Meanwhile she makes calls to her friends and a photographer as well. Later she hears a knock at the door and opens it to find Jesus. She warmly welcomes him. Soon her friends also drop in and the woman introduces them to Jesus. Finally the photographer arrives and all of them get ready for a group photo with Jesus. The photographer says that the frame does not accommodate everyone and hence one should move. None of them agrees to move out of the frame and eventually Jesus himself leaves and stands at the fringe. Then the photo is clicked without Jesus.)
Moral: Christmas seems to have lost its anamnesis. The paraphernalia commemorating its memories are at sale but too expensive for the commons. Market has usurped the manger. In the pomp and gaiety of the celebrations of Christmas we often push Christ to the periphery and thus our Christmas turns out to be a Christ – less Christmas.
Narrator:Who is this Christ Jesus secluded on the fringe? Shall we take a re-look at his birth.
One fine day, off-the-wall, trees blossomed, birds chirped like never before, wind blew bearing the aroma of flowers, the sky poured out his love through the clouds and the earth drenched in it, spread her fragrance all throughout. The entire cosmos stood in awe on seeing its Creator, Creativity and Animator. Jesus, him we call. The True Human.
We re-imagine the birth of Jesus on the Streets.
Mary: May Peace be upon all of you as we welcome you to celebrate the birth of our child Jesus the Christ. We are the children of the street, we bear the stench of exclusion, our clothes are tattered and stained, we have nothing to offer than our sweat and blood, yet God chose to incarnate on the streets among us. Today the streets are blessed.The womb of a woman has become the site of inception of the Salvation of the World.
Joseph: Come and witness you people how God has sanctified the profane, how the wise and wealthy have been put to shame, how the powerful and complacent are mocked and how the ethos of the margins are acknowledged and upheld. The Light of the world has been born in the darkness of the streets. We are overwhelmed and thank God for this subversive act. We shall pray;
The God who sees we thank you for looking at us with utmost mercy and compassion. We understand that we encounter you in places we least expect. In the face of infant Jesus we see your radiance that penetrates deep into our being. In his eyes we see your unconditional love towards creation. May we perceive all things through his eyes so that we explore the unexplored beauty of this world. Help us to grow along with your Son so that we renew ourselves. In Christ Jesus we find the embodiment of the impoverished, the excluded, the homeless, the refugee and the outcast. May our pilgrimage with Christ enlighten us to embrace all so as to flourish our intrinsic humanity. For Christ’s sake we pray. Amen
Mary: It’s time to celebrate. Come let’s sing and dance for the Savior is born today.
Invocation Song: “Hark the herald Angels sing”
Kids’ Dance:(expressing the joy of a special kid born in their midst)
Christmas Medley: Sung by youth from dalit and adivasi backgrounds affirming their hope in Christ who has identified with them.
Youth Dance:(Youths celebrate the youth-hood of the Divine)
Protest March of Farmers
Slogans being shouted
Manifesto of Indian Farmers
(Read by one of the farmers)
“We the farmers of India are convinced that the well-being of farmers is not just about economic survival of a majority of Indian households, it is about retaining our national dignity and our civilizational heritage; Farmers are not just a residue from our past; farmers, agriculture and village community are integral to the future of India and the world; and,The demands of the farmers’ movements are fully consistent with our Constitutional vision, Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.”
One of the Farmers (addressing fellow farmers): Brothers and sisters, I have heard that a Savior is born to Mary and Joseph. We should definitely pay them a visit.
Farmers to Mary and Joseph: Namaste!
Mary and Joseph: Namaste!
Another Farmer: Mary and Joseph full of grace, the world is blessed through you and your Son. We place our hopes on him. It is our plea that you teach your Son Jesus to equate his body with bread and his blood with wine so that the world would remember us – as both bread and wine are the labour of the farmers. Teach him the fertility of the soil, the germination of seeds and weeds, the faith of the birds, the craziness of the wind, the joy of harvest, the vulnerability of seasons and most importantly the rights of the labourers.
(Farmers remain on the stage by the side of Mary and Joseph)
The Three Wise Women
W 1: Listen ladies, I have heard that a child has been born to our friends Mary and Joseph. People call him the Savior. Shouldn’t we go and meet them?
W 2: I would love to visit but right now my monthly periods are going on and I should not defile their home.
W 3: Even I crave to see the baby but I’m a victim of sexual abuse and I dread that people would look down upon me with contempt. My face has also been disfigured and I am sure that I would scare the baby.
W1: Women why are you bothered about all these things? (addressing W 2) Isn’t Menstruation a biological process just like breathing? It’s that what makes women unique. (addressing W 3) And you, it’s not you but the one who sexually abused you should be embarrassed. Your disfigured face is your protest against those men who consider women as sex objects. It’s a slap on their face. Women remember that through Mary you have been blessed as she is the Mother of God.
Moreover consider me, I’m a trans-woman but I’m not ashamed of it because I am the tangible expression of the diversity of sexuality among humans. So shed all your construed beliefs and prepare yourself to meet the True Human Jesus the Christ.
W 2: Yes, you are right. Then let’s prepare for the journey. We shall take some diapers, casseroles and toys to present the infant Jesus.
One of the women to Mary and Joseph: Namaste Mary and Joseph! May be Peace upon us! It filled our hearts with joy unspeakable when we heard that the Christ took flesh on the streets among us. He becomes our hope in distress and thus we have come to offer our tribute to him. Kindly accept our gifts as our offering.
(The women remain on the stage by the side of Mary and Joseph)
A Journey through the Word:Galatians 4: 8-11, 15-19
Voice of the Consciousness: Reflection
Christmas is the festival of hope as it embarks upon the birth of a child. Each child born into this world is a ray of hope; a hope that disrupts the sinful social order. In India the ‘mangers’ are most likely to be found on the streets – the domain of uncertainties. The ‘shepherds’ are most probably to be replaced by wailing farmers and the ‘wise men’ by stigmatized ‘wise women’. Re-imagining the birth of Jesus on the streets gives us an alternate perspective to acknowledge the sanctity of the ‘defiled’.
Affirmation of Faith: (In Unison)
We believe in One, true, mutually indwelling, ever-renewing God, for whom worship is an essential communitarian experience with the margins manifesting the celebration of diversities in Godself.
We believe in Jesus the Christ, the Incarnate Word of God, who breaches history by taking flesh from the womb of an impoverished woman; who through counter paradigmatic life, death, resurrection and parousia comforts the discomforted and discomforts the complacent.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, whose holiness transcends the regressive human borders of caste, class, faith, ethnicity and the like and inspires us to embrace all alike with their differences.
We believe in the church that emerges from the cry of the destitute, the agony of the impoverished, the protest of the farmers,the voice of the subalterns, the groaning of the women and the wounds of the tortured and the scars of the victimized. We believe in the communion of martyrs and saints, the resurrection of the dead and the life anew on its way. Amen
Solidarity Song (sung by the farmers, women, as well as the kids and youth who join them on the stage. They may sing any song of their own composition or use any song focussed on justice, love and peace)
Benedictory Beatitude of Commitment
The hope is in “farmers, ordinary people who will be touched by God and become bearers of good news. The hope is in “the wise” who are genuine seekers of God’s reign on earth, with no desire for being power possessors. The hope is in the Marys and Josephs who through their God-centred lives become mediums of bearing the goodness of God to people and all creation. Indeed the hope is in God who identifies with the weak and the poor, by being incarnated in their midst. As we disperse with this hope in our minds and hearts, may the fearlessness of Christ, the unconventionality of God and the indignation of the Spirit be with us all now and forever more. Amen.
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