Travelling Nativity - a Liturgy of Welcome

The tradition of having figures of Mary, Joseph and a donkey travelling from home to home during Advent is becoming popular in the United Kingdom. The tradition originated in Mexico where it is known as posada.

Here is a simple liturgy we prepared for those who will welcome the figures into their homes.


Lighting the candle  
Reader   We light a candle on the Nth day of the journey of Mary and Joseph around the parish/ community…
 a light to welcome them to the place they will stay.


Song Little donkey...


Mary, Joseph and the donkey placed near to the candle.


Scripture Reading In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.


Short reflection Joseph would not have wanted to travel while Mary was expecting a baby but had no choice. It was a long way to go and he and Mary would have been very glad when family – friends – or kind strangers offered them beds for the nights on the journey.
We cannot go back in time and open our homes to Mary and Joseph – but during Advent we take turns to show how we would have liked to. It is a sign too that we care for others who are without homes and security at the moment. Let us pray for them too…
Intercessions (People could take turns to read the following intercessions – or make up or add their own…)
  We pray for people who do not have a home to sleep safely in tonight.
Lord, in your mercy… hear our prayer
We pray for people who are driven from their homes by war or lack of food or water.
Lord, in your mercy…
We pray for people who are going to bed hungry tonight
Lord, in your mercy…
We pray for people who are ill
Lord, in your mercy…
We pray for N (names of people who will be caring for Mary and Joseph on this stage of the journey). May their welcome of the Holy Family bring blessings to their home.
Lord, in your mercy…
We pray for … names of people we might want particularly to pray for..
Lord, in your mercy…
We pray the prayer that Jesus taught us…
Our Father…
Blessing God, our loving Father, thank-you for the gift of Jesus to the world.
Open our hearts to welcome his love.
Bless our homes with hospitality, so that as we welcome Mary and Joseph today, we may welcome everyone who visits us with kindness and joy.
Help us to be grateful for the good things that you have given to us
and to be generous in sharing them with other people.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, your greatest gift to us.
Light refreshments for the new hosts and those who brought the figures to them might be good at this point!

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