Advent & Christmas Novena in Chontal

In December 2017, I had the opportunity to guide the community in the Advent season and the Christmas novena, which culminates in La Nochebuena (Christmas Eve). The life of the community rejuvenated during that stretch, and it was a special time for everyone involved. Many remarked that it was the best Christmas they had experienced to date - for me it was a fruit of many years of listening to and trying to follow God's voice, and of visiting and accompanying the people.

The youth, setting up the manger scene in the church, on December 8:

Preparations for an evening of Our Lady of Guadalupe for adults, December 12:

Each night of the Novena has its own theme, its own host, and the catechists rotated as the guides:

La Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)

The last night of the Novena, the Pase del Niño, the Procession of the Posadas, the Presentation of Christmas Carols, Mass, and hot chocolate and Christmas gifts

Some of the youth inviting, and decorating the church for the Nochebuena:

Getting ready:

The procession from the church:

Arriving at the house for the Novena. The young woman playing Mary in blue is pregnant, and this is her house, where the first scene of the annunciation of the angel Gabriel is acted out.

 The Angel Gabriel (Giovanny) announces to Good News to Mary (Alva) that she will be the mother of Jesus. This is Alva's house, a restaurant her grandmother owns. She is 19 yrs old, and 7 months pregnant with her first child. She volunteered for the role in the Pase del Niño.

The Angel Gabriel (Giovanny) announces to Good News to Mary (Alva) that she will be the mother of Jesus. This is Alva's house, a restaurant her grandmother owns. She is 19 yrs old, and 7 months pregnant with her first child. She volunteered for the role in the Pase del Niño.

After the novena, a procession through the neighborhood, including the Posadas: organized, sung visits to 3 houses on the way in the name of the rejection of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay.

Finally, we return to the church where the holy family gathers inside the porch. The annunciation and visitation of the shepherds is re-enacted. Then, the wise men make loop following a large, hand-star, after which they dialogue with Herod and finally reach the manger scene to leave their gifts.

Right afterwards, we moved upstairs inside the parish house for the Christmas Carol presentation, where there were 8 performances.

Some people dropped off non-perishable gifts for the new social outreach ministry:

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And afterwards we had the Mass and then hot chocolate and navidades (bags of candies)

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The next day, on Christmas, Ines and I went around handing out the leftover bread, and started to take down the decorations for the Pase del Niño. The leftover branches and wooden posts somehow popped up in way that left a sign for the mission:

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You might notice that this is the only photo I appear in. I'm glad. The guiding and teaching and preaching comes from serving from the bottom up, from behind to the front. The people here are the center, and that I don't appear in the photos much, for me, that is the sign of the cross.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
— John 15:13