Sunday, December 20, 2015

(This material was originally published in Signs of the Times -Various Reports on December 26, 1975)

Martial Law... The Abortive Advent 
(A creative interpretation of the nativity narrative)
Luke 2:1-14

Now at this time the Ruler issued a decree-
This PROCLAMATION  - the first - took place in September 1972

So the people set out with high hopes and with great expectations
to watch for the coming of this NEW SOCIETY
At Referendum time everyone went to his own precinct
to register his prescribed support for the NEW SOCIETY.

The expected time came for the NEW SOCIETY to be delivered
one year passed
Another year passed
Rumors were rampant
Some claimed a genuine birth -- a first-born
Others insinuated a still-birth
Still others claimed that a monsters creature was gestating
in the long slow womb of '72, '73, '74
For three years the people watch for this birth.

In the swadling clothes of their poverty they waited
In the mangers of their squatter areas, they waited

Also in the countryside close by there were sugar workers
and tillers of the land who lived in the fields
They waited and took it in turns to watch

The servants of the Ruler appeared to them
Tyranny and power shone round them
The people were terrified

But the voice of the Ruler insisted

The NEW SOCIETY is already among you
However in the cities and in the countryside
The people did not see the promised birth
WHEREAS, Proclamations proclaimed it
WHEREAS, Decrees decreed it
WHEREAS, General Orders ordered it
Now, therefor, four Christmases later
The people realized the NEW SOCIETY was a false promise

In contradiction to the voice of The Ruler a great murmur was heard
Laborers, squatters and vendors
Farm workers, political prisoners and cultural minorities
The poor, the oppressed
Continued to groan for food, for shelter, and for justice
A new question was heard in the land
Is there life before death?

The voice of The Ruler answered and said
Do not be afraid
Listen I bring you new of great joy
A joy to be shared by the whole people
Today we have declared a holiday

And so a foreign god came to town
There was much preparing and white-washing and decorating
Many squatters were evicted to clear the way for the foreign god
Many people bowed and prayed and danced a welcome to the foreign god
It was a flawless rehearsed welcome
Perhaps the people suspected they were being prostituted to the foreign god
but fear is a great conformist
and money is a powerful begetter of slaves

Some of the people boycotted the holiday
They refused to be seduced

And here is a sign for you
You will find them in the hills and in the countryside
You will find them in the prisons and in the stockades
You will find them in the open spaces outside locked churches
and locked palaces
In the distance you will hear their chant, their protest, their prophecy.

And suddenly the voice of The Ruler is lost
As the great throng shouts out praising God
And singing  Sobra na, Welga na Kami!
Sumama na kayo! Sumama na kayo!
Men, women, and little children shout it
Some nuns and priests and foreigners shout it

There is no room for them in the inn
Together in Solidarity
They quest for justice

Now at this time
It being a holy season
They take unto themselves the privilege of The Ruler
The authority of Proclamation, Decree, and General Order
WHEREAS, Christmas is reduced to colored lights and colored lies
WHEREAS, Christmas words of Peace, Goodwill and Blessing are violated
WHEREAS, Christmas gifts of Freedom, Liberation and Equality are denied
WHEREAS, Christmas has not happened for close to 80% of Filipinos

Now, therefore,
Let it be decreed that Christmas be erased from our calendars
Let it be decreed that Christmas be a time of mourning
Let it be decreed that Christmas be postponed
Until that day
When the people pause in their struggle
and in truth and power sing Christmas
Glory to God in the highest heaven
And peace to men who enjoy his favor.