Advent Ritual: Las Posadas: On the Road with Mary and Joseph   by Rev. Sarah Campbell

From our long, long journey, very weary are we. We are seeking shelter, for our rest and safety. Who arrives at our door on this stormy night?

 There will be a door near the altar during this Advent. Will we open it and welcome the human being in our midst or keep it shut? Each Sunday we will knock on the door.

There was a door at the inn that Joseph and Mary knocked on when they were desperate and needed a place to rest that evening 2000 years ago, that evening we sing of: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

The story of Mary and Joseph seeking refuge is a story repeated by refugees, immigrants and exiles in many times and places throughout the world. It is the story of the Sojourner, the Pilgrim searching for a new land and a new life. Many of us have been sojourners of some type at some point in our lives. We have sought refuge and safety, sustenance and security, an open and affirming welcome.

Each Sunday this Advent we will journey with the refugee, the immigrant, the forced traveler as we re-enact and adapt a traditional Advent/Christmas celebration from Latin America, particularly Mexico, called Las Posadas (The Inns). Las Posadas, this reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and their desperate search for lodging, dates back more than 400 years to Spain, when Catholic priests found they could best teach many of the biblical stories by using drama. Las Posadas traditionally is celebrated for nine nights from Dec 16 through 24.

This year, this will be our Advent ritual each Sunday. Come and see whether the door is opened.

Paper, Paste, and Lots of Creativity
Reception Sun, Dec 8, after 11 am service, Fireside Room

Over the past two months, a few Mayflower folks have had the privilege and joy of working with local artist Sandy Spieler on nativity figures for the stable we use during Advent in the sanctuary. Memorial money from Dana Blanck, Marc Brown and Jim Kusunoki funded the commission. The stable itself was built by Marc Brown, who was a finish carpenter. Self-taught, he pursued this hobby all his adult life and was always glad to be asked to build furniture pieces for the church. He was less happy to be asked to build something to look rough and crude, but he complied. He could not have known how central his least favorite project continues to be for Advent seasons at Mayflower, especially now that artist Sandy Spieler is involved.

Sandy is a founder and artistic director of Heart of the Beast Theater, famous for its May Day parades and other community and justice-focused projects in the state and around the world. She moved with her family to Minnesota when her Lutheran minister father took a job with the national Lutheran organization, then based in Minneapolis. Sandy says the Christmas story holds a special place in her heart. Her work on our nativity figures bears that out. Heart of the Beast was involved in the creation of what we fondly know as Big Jesus, the large puppet that leads Palm Sunday processions and other big Mayflower Sundays.

We will welcome the creche figures and hear from the artist who created them during a reception, Sunday, December 8, in the Fireside Room, following the 11:00 am service. Mayflower will have the most original and wonderful creche to tell again and again the story of the birth of Jesus and the hope this birth represents.

Advent Reflections Offers a Time Apart
Sundays, Dec 1, 8 & 15, 9:45 am

Join us for a time of quiet prayer, Christmas legends revisited, and writing and sharing stories. Take a break from the season’s busyness and hurry. On December 1, Marty Haugen will talk about the origin, evolution and theology the Advent season, and will also do a brief introduction to the reasons why we are doing a vespers Advent service. On Dec 8 and 15, Rev. Christian Briones and Mayflower member Kris Woll (writer and educator at The Loft Literary Center) will provide a creative way through the practice of writing to pause and reflect on the meaning of the Advent Season. In these sessions, participants will seek to put into words the various ways the readings, songs and traditions of this time of year resonate in our own lives.

Holden Village Evening Prayer
Wednesdays, Dec 4, 11 and 18, 6:15 pm

This evening prayer service was written at the Holden Village Retreat Center during the winter of 1985-86. The small winter community there (who collaborated in creating the service) had asked for a vespers (evening) service that would incorporate more inclusive and prophetic language. Over the past 30 years, the Holden Evening Prayer has been translated into numerous languages and prayed in a number of different Christian denominations.

Acoustic Christmas
Sun, Dec 8, 4:00 pm

Our concert this year will be a bit earlier than usual to accommodate families with younger children. This warm, peaceful candle-lit program of Christmas music provided by the Mayflower Children’s and Youth choirs offers comfort and calm during the busy season. Nancy Grundahl, Randi Rexroth, David Carey and Marty Haugen, along with additional instrumentalists and the Mayflower Bell Choir, will help to make this a special late afternoon. The offering benefits the summer youth trip. A holiday cookie reception follows in the fireside room.

Winter Solstice Longest Night Service
Sat, Dec 21, 6 pm, led by Rev. Nan Aalborg

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. We will participate in ancient symbolism, especially meaningful for those who are experiencing grief, illness, loneliness or who just are glad that the days will be getting longer again. We will be in solidarity with one another in our “dark nights of the soul,” enjoying beautiful mellow music, lighting candles, and welcoming light into our lives.

Stories and Carols with Marty and Mary
Sun, Dec 22, 9:45- 10:45 am, Youth Room

Join Marty Haugen and Mary Keepers to sing Christmas Carols, learn a little about those carols, and hear stories of Christmas. This is an “everyone learning together” event; all ages are invited, and children, youth and families are especially encouraged to attend.

Poinsettia Sale! Remember a Loved One, Support Mayflower Youth
Sun, Dec 1, 9:45- 10:45 am and Sun Dec 8, 9:15– 9:45 am/ 11:45- 12:15 pm

See details in the Faith Formation for Children, Youth and Families

La Crèche Giving Tree
See details in the Faith Formation for Children, Youth and Families

Mitten & Hat Tree
See details in the Faith Formation for Children, Youth and Families