"Posada Para Los Oprimidos"
Rev. Greg Ward
Christmas Eve Intergenerational Service
UU Metro Atlanta North
OPENING HYMN – "O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL"
Mary had news. Big news. Front page, headline news! The kind that would be the lead story in a Fox News broadcast. It was kind of a scandal. And the biggest problem of such news, is that she was at the center of it all. And Mary was frightened.
"How could this happen?" she cried. She fretted in her bedroom and pulled her stuffed bear close to her chest as she cried. Mary tried, but couldn’t remember much about the past few months. Sure, she had begun to see boys from the village and occasionally went on dates. She liked them. And especially she enjoyed the attention. The acceptance. The chance to dream of a life with someone who loved her and with whom she would have a life and family of her own.
She was older now, after all. And her time to marry would not be far off. But she was certainly not old enough for this! Not old enough to be pregnant! And she was scared.
Mary knew she would have to share the news with her parents. And the rest of her family. And she was afraid of what they would think. Sure, she could tell her parents about the dream. That strange dream she had a few months before where an angel visited her and told her she was special – and chosen – to have a child that would be a miracle of light in a very dark world. But she didn’t think her family would understand. Even though when she remembered the dream, it fell upon her heart with great comfort.
Her sister, Elizabeth, understood. But then again, Elizabeth had to understand. She was pregnant too. And she had a similar dream. Of being chosen. Of having a baby that would bring great joy to people who lived so much in fear. Their talks together helped Mary face her own situation. And Elizabeth eventually gave Mary the courage to let her family know her secret.
But it did not go well. Like she feared, they did not listen to the dream. They only listened to the news. And it was news they didn’t want to hear. At first their mouths hung open. Then there was crying. Then yelling. Then more crying. And when it was all over and done, it was clear to Mary that she had to go. Her family was too worried about what ‘other’s’ would think. She would have to, they said, find her own place.
So, Mary put some belongings together in a small suitcase. Her baby, she knew, would have to have a place where it would be welcomed. And loved. And though she could not think of such a place, and it was dark outside, she opened the door to a whole new world of possibility. And the last thing she took, with the suitcase under her arm, was a flashlight to help her find her way.
For the light that shines from heavens above…
that rises like the wings of a dove
that illuminates understanding,
goodness and love
We light this chalice
that our best will shine forth from all we do
So that peace on earth may one day be true.
JOSEPH AND THE JOURNEY TOWARD BETHLEHEM
The bus station where Joseph waited was dark and deserted. Sitting outside, on the cold metal bench, he looked up to the stars and thought to himself. And he worried.
"What kind of man am I?" he wondered. With no work for him in the last several months, Joseph hadn’t been able to pay his rent. He had to sell some of his tools to buy food. He didn’t have an address to put on his job applications and no cell phone to return calls or arrange for interviews.
Everyone knew Joseph well enough in the village. But no one knew him very well. They knew that he rarely charged enough for the work he did. And sometimes he didn’t charge at all if he didn’t think the person had enough money. And above all, he did work for the wrong people. When everyone else refused to do work for the Syrians and the Samaritans, Joseph took the jobs. Didn’t he know these people were not wanted? That they were considered the enemies of the village? Joseph just saw them as people. And because of that, the people of the town – even his own family – weren’t sure they could trust him.
So, slowly, jobs stopped coming in for Joseph. And when he began having trouble paying his bills, people began turning away from his pleas for help.
What kind of man was he? And most of all, who would have him as a friend? Who would have him as a husband? These are the questions he asked as he looked up at the stars for an answer. But none came. Nothing would change, he feared. And so, with sadness his gaze fell to the deserted bus station around him. Except something had changed. The bus station was no longer empty. There, across the parking lot, was a single young girl, carrying a suitcase. And she was walking right toward him.
His eyes squinted. Then they opened wide. He knew this girl. It was Mary. From school. They had been in the same class together before he had dropped out to start his carpentry business. She was one of the popular girls. But unlike the rest of the popular kids, Mary had always taken time to talk to him. To say, ‘hello.’ To smile when they passed in the halls. And as Mary recognized him, she smiled again.
Truth to tell, they were both excited to see one another. And relieved. Partly just so they wouldn’t each feel so alone and have to face such scary questions all by themselves. They were each grateful to have someone to talk to. And, as the bus arrived and they both got on, that is just what they did. All the way to Bethlehem City, they talked.
They shared stories about their fears of being rejected and the worry that it would always be that way. They talked about their beliefs that people were good, even though much of what they did came out of fear. They talked about the possibility that some people could be chosen, to help those around them rise above their fears. And they talked about the dream of living in a place surrounded by such faith and courage.
All of this they talked about for hours. And would have talked for hours more if the bus hadn’t, all at once, come to a stop. "Last stop! Bethlehem City!" the bus driver shouted. "Please take all your belongings before you exit the bus!"
They each peered out the window of the bus as they carried their luggage to the front. They could see nothing. Until the doors swung open into the dark night. There, they both noticed a small man in a black coat sitting in the center of the empty square.
He had curls of hair hanging from his temples and a round black cap on top of his head – too small to keep him warm. And he appeared to be trying to light a candle against the cold and biting wind.
As they stepped off the bus, the small man turned around and faced them. He stared for a minute as though he was sizing them up. Mary and Joseph weren’t sure what to think. Until a broad smile fell over his face, a twinkle appeared in his eyes, and he bellowed out the words, "WELCOME! Welcome, to Bethlehem City!"
HYMN - "ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH" (1 Verse)
HYMN: HAND OF FRIENDSHIP
MORTY, MARGUERITE AND THE INN
"WELCOME!" said the man. "Welcome to Bethlehem City."
"Who are you?" Mary asked, a bit cautiously.
"Who am I?" cried the man appearing insulted. "Who am I? Why, I am the Mayor of Bethlehem City!" he exclaimed with pride.
"You are?" returned Joseph, a little surprised.
"Well… actually… no. No… I’m not exactly the Mayor. I’m… I’m… I’m the official ambassador of greeting.
"Really? Truly?" asked Mary, still surprised.
"No. Not really," the man said, his head now hanging lower and the smile disappearing. "Truth to tell, I’m just ‘Morty,’ I’m not the mayor. Or an ambassador. Actually, I just arrived in Bethlehem City a few hours ago. I came in on the bus right before yours."
Mary and Joseph could see that he looked sad as he said this. And a little worried.
"Where are you staying?" they both asked him at once.
Morty turned in one direction and was about to point. But stopped. Then he wheeled around and was going to gesture to another direction. But stopped. Then he opened his mouth to speak. And stopped.
"Truth is," he finally admitted. I don’t have a place to stay.
"Aren’t there any places for travelers around here?" they asked.
"Oh, there are places," Morty said as he shot a glance behind him to the neon cross outside the mission, only a half a block away from where they stood.
"Well, what are we waiting for," Joseph said. Let’s go see if we can get some rooms.
"But…" Morty began to mumble a protest, and then fell silent. He didn’t want to trouble them with an explanation of what had happened to him just a short while before. Mary and Joseph had already picked up their belongings and were beginning to walk toward the mission. They looked back to where he was standing and, like he was being called, Morty began to follow on behind. At a distance.
When they arrived at the mission, they knocked on the door. A large man
with neatly combed hair answered.
"How can I help you two?" he asked, politely.
"Is there any room here to spend the night," Joseph asked anxiously. Morty was leaning back against the wall, out of sight.
"Yes, we have rooms," the man replied. "Come on in"
Smiles came to the faces of Mary and Joseph and as they gathered their things to go inside, they turned to Morty who was still leaning against the wall, out of sight.
"See, that wasn’t so hard," they said. "C’mon, Morty."
With that, the man with the neatly combed hair poked his head out of the door and looked at Morty.
"You again. I thought I…" Then he stopped. And started over again. "We only have one room," the man said between his teeth.
Mary and Joseph looked at one another. Then they looked at Morty, who hadn’t moved. Looking back at each other they nodded. "I think we can all share," Mary said.
"Well, in any case, we don’t have a room for him," he said. "You two are welcome, but he will have to go somewhere else."
Mary and Joseph were both stunned. They thought for a moment. They were cold. And it was dark. But they couldn’t get themselves to go inside. Not if it meant leaving Morty behind.
"I don’t understand," Mary pleaded. But the man at the door wasn’t listening anymore.
"Look, do you want the one room or don’t you," he spoke bristling. I can’t hold the door open all night!"
Their eyes wide, they looked at the man. Then they looked back at Morty, who now had a streak of tears coming down his cheeks.
"No," said Mary indirectly, her eyes fixed on Morty. "We’ll find another place.
"I guess I should have tried to explain," said Morty. "See, I’m a Jew. Jews are not always welcome here. There are some people, even in Bethlehem City, that only like to deal with people who believe like they do."
They listened to Morty for a second. Then Joseph spoke.
"Do you believe there is a place out there where we are all welcome? That we can find … together?" he asked.
Morty smiled. "Yes," he said. "I do believe in such a place."
They all nodded in agreement. And together, they got ready to set out again.
"You didn’t want to stay there anyway!" came a laughing voice. "No cable. No room service. And they don’t even leave mints on the lumpy old pillows!"
Halfway up the street, apparently having seen the whole thing, stood a woman. With her hands on her hips, she stood defiantly, silhouetted beside the glow of a giant, illuminated, plastic hamburger.
Surprised, they looked at her, standing boldly in front of Hamburger Heaven, a fast food restaurant. They were all unsure of what to make of this or how to respond. Until she waved them forward.
As they approached, they could see better that the woman calling them was young. She was slight. And beautiful, with olive skin. And she smiled as she spoke, the words coming out with a decidedly different accent. They had to listen closely to understand what she was saying.
"I’ve seen that a dozen times before," she said. "Believe me, your better off."
The woman explained that she had worked there at the mission for many years. "Until a couple of months ago," she explained. She told them all how she kept getting in trouble for letting ‘the wrong kind of people’ into the mission. Only she didn’t think of anyone as ‘wrong.’ "Finally, after ‘so many incidents,’ they had enough," she explained. "After that, I became ‘the wrong kind of people.’ And they fired me."
She stood up from where she was leaning against the glowing hamburger as they walked closer. She introduced herself as Marguerite and explained that she had spent the last month and a half looking for jobs. "A disheartening thing when no one wants to hire you because of the way you look," she said.
At that moment, a large woman wearing a red and white striped apron came out from ‘Hamburger Heaven’ and yelled out at them.
"Stop scaring away the customers," she squealed. "I told you, there are no jobs here. So if you want to come here, you’ll have to buy something like everyone else. Otherwise, you can’t stay!" And she, hurriedly, went back inside, the door slamming behind her.
"Getting to the point is her strong suit," Marguerite commented.
"Unfortunately, hospitality is her weak one," replied Mary.
Marguerite sighed. "Latinos are not very popular in this town," she said. "I could go over to the other side of the city where there are more people who look like me. But, somehow, I thought it would be nice to see if people could accept me here. I guess that’s not the way it is."
At that moment, each one of them was thinking to themselves how nice it would be to feel accepted, even though something about them made them different. And scared the people around them.
"Do you think…" Morty said, breaking the silence, there is such a place? A place where people will accept the way you look? …And…" he continued, "where they might accept us too?"
Marguerite smiled at the thought of being included. "Yes," she said. "Yes, I can imagine such a place." And with that, the looked at each other, picked up there things and scanned the horizon. "C’mon," Marguerite said, there’s gotta be a place somewhere in this town.
JOYS AND CONCERNS
Service Leader: We all want to be with the people we love at Christmas. And when we aren’t, we want to make sure they are included. We invite you now, to share the name of someone you love, who is not here. Maybe they are waiting at home. Maybe they are far away. In a moment, when you hear the jingle bells, shout out the name of those who you carry in your heart this Christmas.
BENTWICKLE, BRUCE AND THE SEARCH
With four people now, it hardly felt to any of them like they were alone. Stories of where they had come, dreams about where they hoped to go – these passed the time as they walked the windy streets of Bethlehem City. Along the way they looked for a place that might take them in and told really bad jokes to comfort their anxieties.
After walking through a particularly dark stretch of town, they came to a row of houses that were well lit. Each one had a flight of stairs that led up to front doors and several of the doors advertised rooms available.
They would have been overjoyed, had their attention not suddenly been turned in the direction of a woman in a chair flailing his arms around and moaning loudly. Thinking she was in great distress, they hurried over and surrounded her. Whereupon she started beating on each and every one of them with her cane.
"Grrrr…get…away… what… do … you… think…"
"Hey! Hey! Easy now. No need to go ballistic with that thing," cried Marguerite. "We were just trying to help."
"Help with what? I was just dancing."
"Dancing?" cried Mary. "You were dancing?"
"And what’s so funny about that?" the woman cried indignantly. "You don’t think I can dance? Why, I’ll have you know I could dance circles around the whole lot of ya."
"Then why were you moaning and wailing," Morty asked.
"It was singing, thank you very much. Why you wouldn’t know good singing if… if… Oh, who am I kidding? I wasn’t dancing. And you’re right to point out that that certainly wasn’t singing. I was just mad, is all. I was screaming at the owners of that motel over there because I was angry with them.
"That was a pretty good fit you were in," Joseph said. "They must have made you pretty mad."
"Well, they did! I came here looking for a room. It seems I missed my ride at the bus station and I came here. But all of these places won’t have me. They say that ‘they can’t accommodate someone like me.’ And some of ‘em even said that they thought I might frighten the other guests. I just got so fed up after the fifth time, I just started screaming. And that’s when you all came and attacked me."
"Correction," said Mary. "We came to rescue you. It seems we are all in the same place – all of us looking for a place to stay. But it’s occurred to us, after having been turned away from so many places now, that we are looking for a place that will take us all in. We’d be honored if you would join us."
"Yeah! Especially if you’ll teach us how to dance," laughed Marguerite.
"Teach you to… You know what? You’re all nuts." They all stared at the woman as she kept a serious look on her face. "So I guess…" she said, breaking into a smile, "this is the right group for a nut like me."
They all moved in a little closer, now that she’d put down her cane. And she introduced herself as Bentwickle. She explained that her name was actually Bernice, but because she was born with crooked legs, all the other children changed her name and Bentwickle is what stuck. She said that she doesn’t mind it anymore. She actually answers to it with a little pride after all these years.
"I am somewhat of a ‘Bentwickle’" she said.
"Yeah, and besided, it’s all of them who are nuts!" cried out Morty. And he started to scream up at the motels: "ya hear that – you’re all NUTS!" And then the rest joined in, yelling,’NUTS! NUTS! NUTS!" until they were all chanting and laughing together.
It was at that moment, a young man appeared behind them all and caught their attention.
"Ahem!" he said. They all turned, thinking their ruckus had brought the police. But when they turned around to look, what they saw was certainly not a policeman. There, standing before them in all his glory was a tall, lanky man with short blond hair, wearing a shirt much too sheer for the cold night air and trying, unsuccessfully, to keep warm with a feather boa. It was obvious that he’d been crying.
"I thought with all these nuts, you might want to include a little fruit."
Well, if they weren’t laughing before, they were certainly laughing now. It turns out that the man’s name was Bruce and he had been wandering around for two days also looking for a place to stay. His boyfriend, who he had been living with, said his parents announced at the last minute that they were coming to visit and that they would just die if they met Bruce. And when he had pleaded that he had no place to go, he was shoved out of the door. When he complained he was cold, the feather boa came flying out the window.
"So what have you been doing since then?" asked Bentwickle.
"Well," Bruce started in, "at first I was so stunned, I just cried. And pleaded for him to let me in. But he wouldn’t. So then I called friends, but that didn’t work out. Then I wandered around, looking for a place to stay. When that didn’t work, I cried some more. But once or twice a day, I try to cheer myself up by going back by the house and singing."
"Singing?" they all asked.
"Oh yes, singing!" cried Bruce. "The same song over and over." And he
began to sing for them:
Go tell it on the Mountain, that SILVIO J. COLLETTA IS GAY!"
Everyone laughed more.
"Honestly," Bruce said. "You’d think with a name like ‘Silvio,’ it wouldn’t be such a secret."
"Well," Mary said. "Your welcome to join us. And none of us are going to ask you to hide, or be a secret. I, for one, am tired of living with a secret."
"She’s pregnant," blurted out Marguerite.
"And she’s banned from ever working at Hamburger Heaven because she’s Latino," said Morty.
"And he’s a Jew, cried Joseph.
"And he works for the enemy," cried out Mary.
"And I can’t dance," said Bentwickle.
"Well… isn’t this just the Brady Bunch, then?" exclaimed Bruce. "C’mon," he said, "let’s go find a classier part of town for our distinguished talents." And with that, they all started on down the street. And all at once, they began to sing.
HYMN: GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN (1 Verse)
BOB AND THE DREAM FOR A NEW CITY ON THE HILL
As their own singing died down, and their laughter subsided, they came to a corner where a new sound emerged. Down a dark alley, the sound a lone guitar and a soft voice came drifting through the streets. They followed out of curiosity to a trashcan with a small fire lit inside. Beside it stood a man all alone in the darkness, playing his music.
As they all saw him they quietly walked (or wheeled) closer to him. As they did, the man gently opened his eyes and lifted his head and smiled at them as they approached. And he went right on singing.
Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain, that some new hope is born.
While people run from problem lives
Seeking kindness in the night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light
Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain, that some new hope is born.
He finished softly and looked up at them all, still smiling. Everyone clapped. At least the ones who were not wiping away their tears.
"That was just what we needed to hear," cried Mary.
"I guessed as much," the man responded. "From the noise that you all were making."
"You heard our little musical tirade then?" asked Bruce, only a little embarrassed.
"The better question is, ‘who, in this city, didn’t hear your musical tirade?" replied the man.
Everyone looked a little sheepish, until the man smiled, assuring him that it was comforting to hear other people expressing his own feelings. "And besides," he continued, "I learned something new."
"You did?" wondered Joseph
"Yeah. Frankly, I didn’t know Silvio Calletta was gay."
Everyone laughed again and the man introduced himself as ‘Bob.’ He said that he’d been playing the streets of Bethlehem City for several years now. "Mostly, outside Pharisee’s Club where all the wealthy people hang out. I notice when they come out, having eaten their fill that seeing me standing alone makes them a little uncomfortable. I sing to remind them a little of the other half of the city they never get to see while they stay in their fancy restaurants. Some of them even stop to listen for a few minutes. Until it becomes inconvenient. Then they move on.
"My hope is," he continued, " that someday it won’t be like it is today. Where there are many separate places in the city with many separated people. That one day it will be one city – a city on a hill – a place with all people coming together to do what needs to be done. Not caring about who gets credit or who makes a profit. Only for who needs help. Usually, when I stand outside the window of the club, some people put money in my basket. I use it to give to the children and those who are in need. It doesn’t always amount to much. But, somehow, I want to keep giving until it amounts to something real. ‘Till I know that I can be part of something that makes a difference."
And with that, each of the people looked into their hearts, and reached into their pockets, to pull out whatever money they could spare. Because they too, realized that knowing the world was in need and knowing something was being done about it were two different things. And even though they struggled, they struggled more to feel like they could make a difference. So that, one day, all people would be part of a city on the hill.
Service Leader: So that one day, we may all be part of a great community. A place where each helps all to make it through the hard times. The offering tonight will go toward the ministerial discretionary fund which helps assist those members and friends of UUMAN when they are in need. The offering will now be taken)
MUSIC – Dona Nobis Pacem
Service Leader: For the work of this church, which is weaving a tapestry of love with our lives, we take this offering, and build from it the community we wish to see.
A PLACE WHERE THERE IS ROOM
After each placed their money in the basket they were surprised that none of them felt empty. Or poor. Strangely, they felt powerful. And filled with hope. Although everyone there still felt cold.
"Where do you stay," Mary asked Bob as he began to put his guitar away and gather his things.
"It’s a place not far from here," Bob said with assurance. It’s just an old empty warehouse that hasn’t been used in years. There is no furniture. And the light shines in from the street through an open panel in the ceiling. But I brought in some straw from the fields and with a few blankets. It’s nothing you’re going to find in Better Homes and Gardens. But if you are looking for a place, I would be happy if you’d join me.
Grateful for a place, and even more grateful for the invitation, they
all agreed they would love to share one another’s company. Especially
Mary, who by this time, had grown very tired. The others could see that
she was experiencing some pain. So without fanfare, they walked together
the short distance to an old aluminum door facing the alley.
"I know," Bob said modestly. "It’s really a…"
"Magnificent place you have," said Marguerite. "You are very kind to invite us in."
"It’s not the Ritz," replied Bob. "But it gives me a place to stay. A place to come out of the cold. And a place where I can pray for something better. It may seem simple. Or even strange. But I already know my prayers are working.
"What makes you say that," asked Bentwickle
"Because you are all here. You make a difference to me. And we can make a difference to others."
"Maybe we would all do well to pray a little more, like you," Mary murmured.
And with that, Bob went over to the candle and pulled out his lighter. He lit the candle and looked up at the neon lamp and he spoke.
"World," he said, "You are not always easy, and you are not always fair, and it is easy to feel alone – even while in the heart of your cities. But you are filled with kindness and thoughtfulness waiting to be discovered. Some day, the wealthy will sit down next to those who want, and we will know you as you truly are."
"Someday," interjected Morty, "people of all different beliefs will work toward building a common love for all people."
"And those of every color and race and heritage will call themselves brothers and sisters," returned Marguerite.
"Where it will not matter how we express our love," cried Bruce.
"Or how we move," said Bentwickle
"Or whom we work for," offered Joseph.
"Someday, world," continued Mary, "every life that is connected to you will know that it was chosen to bring light into dark places. And that we all are blessed."
They all said "amen." And then they began to sing.
HYMN: DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? (1 Verse)
IN THE DARKNESS, A LIGHT IS BORN
It was almost midnight before everyone had settled down. But even though stories were shared about their experiences and a happiness that they were all together, Mary could feel something more was happening. She had begun experiencing pain. Labor pain. Her baby was pushing and it was in this warehouse, of all places, that she would have to give birth. When people realized what was happening, everyone pitched in. Some food and water were found. The cleanest of the towels were collected. Marguerite, who had mid-wifed at the mission, helped with the breathing. The rest offered comfort however they could. But the next three hours were still a difficult and trying time. Mary screamed. Joseph comforted. Everyone practiced their own Lamaze.
Finally, close to three in the morning, Mary gave birth to a boy amid cheers. Bob, Bruce and Marguerite sang. And Bentwickle danced.
Mary had done well. And the baby cried for only a moment and then quieted down, looking around almost instantly to see the many strange faces making cooing noises all around him.
Finally, with all the stress of the last few days behind her, Mary began to cry. Not tears of sadness, but those of joy. In her head and in her heart she kept remember the words that had come to her months before in a dream. "You are chosen," the voice said. "To bring into this world a child who will bring light into a dark world. Who will heal the people’s hatred and bring fellowship where only fear was known."
"Maybe," Mary finally said aloud, "it’s true after all. I kept wanting to believe, but now maybe I’ll really have to. If a baby could bring together such a band of outcasts and rejects; if his birth could call everyone to come together; if we could all forget our private and personal pain for our greater collective need, maybe this baby really is chosen.
"He is so innocent," she continued. "What does he know of hatred? What does he know of betrayal? What kind of prejudice could possibly be in his heart? Only what he might learn from the people around him. Even from us."
"But remaining innocent invites betrayal," replied Bruce. And all the others shook their heads.
"Then it is up to us," continued Mary. "Not to keep him innocent. But
to have the courage to love beyond our fears. Beyond what is foreign to
us. That is how light will come to this world."
And everyone agreed. So strong was the love in that old dark warehouse, so hopeful was the mood, so joyous was the spirit that they couldn’t help but sing.
HYMN: HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING (1 verse)
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
Something about that singing seemed to spread throughout the city. Spread even out to the country beyond. It was as if their voices had, somehow joined in a larger chorus. Creating their own choir of angels. It was as if the light from that neon lamp reached across the entire city – even the desert. And they discovered the sound of the celebration drew people to that spot from all over. And, slowly, they began to enter the warehouse to see what was going on.
In walked the man with neatly combed hair from the mission and the entire staff. And the woman from Hamburger Heaven. All the people from the motels along the street. Many who came they did not know. But others they knew well. In walked Silvio Calletta – AND his parents. In walked the people from the Pharisee Club – still in suits and tuxedos.
As they all began to mill about they could see a little about what was happening. A mother and her baby, and a whole series of wise men and women looking on adoringly. And everyone singing under the light of the neon lamp.
The newcomers began to gather closer. They felt a little awkward at first. Most of them recognized someone in the circle around the baby. And most of them remembered them as someone who they had rejected. For a moment, they paused.
All the while, those around the baby took notice as well. Morty saw the man from the mission. And Marguerite noticed the woman who had yelled at her. Bruce saw Silvio and Bentwickle saw each of the many people who had turned her away. They too, wondered if they had it in them to open themselves up, again, to face the pain of rejection once more. It would be so easy to show give them a little of their own medicine. Turn them away.
As if for guidance, they each turned away and looked down at the baby.
Then, it was as if they heard Mary’s voice all over again. "What does he know of hatred? What does he know of betrayal? What kind of prejudice could possibly be in his heart? Only what he might learn from the people around him. From us."
It was at that moment that something turned in their hearts. And shifted in the room. The circle around the baby opened up and those around the edge moved closer. People all around joined hands. Those who had never met. And those who had grudges of long standing. And they saw that the circle was big enough for everyone. But not everyone had arrived.
For just coming through the door were more people, bringing food and drink from the club. And blankets and a real bed with a real crib. And behind them all, were two worried looking people. A tinge of fear - and then a feeling of joy – came upon Mary as she recognized them as her own parents. They had come looking for her when they realized their love was larger than their disagreement. As they moved closer, Mary sat up and held out her hand. And as they touched, a new day dawned. And with the new light, the whole gathering began to sing
CLOSING HYMN: SILENT NIGHT