[Province Madrid – Santa Luisa] The first Bethlehem in history was made and lived by all present. This afternoon, at 2019 Christmas, we ALL OF US (people who attend the San Vicente de Paul Integral Program, workers, volunteers, Sisters), are going to pray, celebrate and rebuild the Bethlehem Manger. Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in diapers and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (2:7). Let us contemplate the situation of poverty of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ parents, having to place their Son in a manger, on the hay, because there was no place for them.
PREPARING THE MANGER. (A mom of the program prepares the manger) “Imagine” … “feel” … “touch” … the place where Jesus was born at midnight … Let’s think about how many times the night wraps our lives …, even in those moments, God doesn’t leave us alone, he makes himself present to answer the questions about the meaning of our existence: Who am I? Where do I come from? Why was I born at this time? Why do I love? Why do I suffer? Why I will die?… To answer these questions, God became man. His proximity brings light where there is darkness and illuminates those who go through the darkness of suffering (cf. Lk 1:79).
CAROL … (The Seminary Sisters sing) We approach Jesus’ parents, MARY and JOSEPH
MARY a mother who contemplates her son and shows him to all who come to visit him. Her image suggests the great mystery that has surrounded this young woman when God has knocked on the door of her clean and welcoming heart. At the announcement of the angel, who asked her to be the mother of God, Mary replied: “Let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). She does not have her Son only for herself, but for all who want to approach Him.
JOSEPH, next to Mary, in an attitude of protection of the Child and his mother, he takes care and protects his family. When he was warned of Herod’s threat, he did not hesitate to get on his way and emigrate to Egypt (cf. Mt 2: 13-15). After the danger, he returned with his family to Nazareth, to continue, along with Mary, educating JESUS. Music
JESUS (A man from the program brings the Child to the Crib). God appears as a child, to be received in our arms. In weakness and fragility, he hides his power that creates and transforms everything, God the child has wanted to reveal the greatness of his love, which is manifested in the smile and in reaching out to all. Seeing the eyes of young couples shine before their new-born son, we understand Mary and Joseph feelings who, looking at child Jesus, perceived the presence of God in their lives. “Life became visible” (1 Jn 1:2). God’s way of acting almost stuns because it seems impossible for him to renounce to his glory to become a man like us: he sleeps, drinks his mother’s milk, cries and plays like all children. As always, God baffles, is unpredictable, continually goes beyond our schemes.
THE SHEPHERDS (some children of the Program dressed as shepherds approach the Manger) When the great news was announced to the shepherds, they felt very happy. They were going to be witnesses of the ESSENTIAL: of the salvation that was offered to them through the new-born Child.
SONG: (The little drummer). It is the humblest and the poorest who know how to host the Incarnation event. They, who know no other abundance than that of the heart. They are the privileged of this mystery and, often, those who are better able to recognize the presence of God in our midst.
THE MAGI (Program workers brought Wreaths that deposit around the manger). The figures of the three Magi observing the star, those wise and rich Lords of the East set off for Bethlehem to meet Jesus and offer him their gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold honors the royalty of Jesus; the incense his divinity; Myrrh her humanity. Each of us must be Good news for others, through our words, our gestures, our actions, with concrete actions of mercy show the joy of having found Jesus and his love. The Magi teach us that we can start from far away to reach Christ. They are not scandalized by the poverty of the environment; they do not hesitate to get on their knees and worship Him.
Julián del Olmo (priest and journalist).The Manger is already prepared, all the characters are present. Now we are missing. We were given a paper in which everyone can write a dream, a request, a memory of your childhood … Everyone comes to put the paper with their dream, desire, etc. and worship the Child. Next to the Manger, what counts is our life. From anywhere in the world, the Manger speaks of the love of God, the God made Child, to tell us how close He is to every person, whatever their condition and situation: child, young, sick, elderly, unemployed, emigrant … Let us live this Christmas bringing the joy of the Manger through OUR words, gestures of closeness and welcome, with all the people we meet. HAPPY AND FRATERNAL CHRISTMAS FOR ALL! Now at the exit, you will be given the story recited, to continue telling the children what is the real Christmas. Singing
POEM-CHRISTMAS TALE – This Christmas … tell the children that it is a sin to throw food in the trash while millions of people go hungry.
Tell them … that the resources of the Planet and parents are limited and must be managed well, to guarantee their future and ours.
Tell them … that he who has more is not happier but he who needs less.
Tell them … that the people who care for the elderly are emigrants and we have to thank them for the service they provide.
Tell them … what we celebrate at Christmas: THAT JESUS, THE SON OF GOD, CAME FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH TO BE OUR BEST FRIEND.
Tell the children! (The priest presents throughout the chapel the CHILD JESUS to worship Him)