A Visit From the Kubi


When I was a little girl I was lucky enough to have gone to a mission church near my home with many other young families who had a true love for tradition. Many in the congregation, like my own mother, were new to the traditions of the Byzantine rite, but recognizing their richness and beauty, they were eager to learn them and teach them to us children. One of my fondest Christmas memories was of wearing a white angel's robe and stovepipe hat, both made by my mother, with gold ribbon wound about me in an X-shape. My sisters were similarly dressed, and my brother was dressed as a little shepherd. We were in an ancient Nativity play, one we had heard many stories about as having been performed in the old country, before our families had settled here. We were small enough to not have to memorize any lines, just a song in Old Slavonic which we sang with all our hearts. We had often heard of how the men of the village in Europe would travel from house to house after Holy Supper on Christmas eve, carrying a miniature church, reciting the same lines and singing the same songs. They would be offered a drink and some food as they went, joyfully spreading the message that the angels had once given to the shepherds on that other cold night. My grandparents came to watch us at the church after Liturgy, smiling as they heard the familiar message, this time said in the unfamiliar English. Perhaps they remembered having seen this as a child, or even participated in it as we were doing. Perhaps they thought they might never witness this event again in their lifetime.



Рождественская-открытка, by Boris Vasilievich Zvorikin

A Visit from the Kubi


(All Shepherds enter the home.)


FIRST SHEPHERD: Christ is Born! Glorify Him! (Christos Razdajetsja!) (Slavite Jeho!) Good afternoon (evening) As you see, I am not alone. My friends and I are shepherds and we come from the land of Bethlehem. We brought with us the manger of Bethlehem; in it rests the newly-born Savior of the world, the Son of God. We would like to tell you the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.


OLD SHEPHERD: Gather around me, my friends, and I will tell you what happened to me while I tended my flock. A brilliant light appeared in the heavens and brightened the fields around me.


(Outside... The angels begin singing: Angels from Heaven, So Nebes Anhel.)


OLD SHEPHERD:I seemed to hear angelic voices in the air. I did not understand it but somehow I felt that something very special was happening.


(The angels, while still singing, enter the house, carrying the church. When the shepherds see the angels, they fall to their knees. The angels, still singing, place the church down and complete their song.)


OLD SHEPHERD: Rise my fellow shepherds. The angels have come from heaven to us poor and simple shepherds to announce the joyous news that in Bethlehem we will find the promised Messiah, the Savior whom men have been waiting for since God's promise in Paradise.


THIRD SHEPHERD: Let us go there so that we might glorify Him.


OLD SHEPHERD: Yes, my friends, let us go to Bethlehem, where God has been born as Man. We will leave our sheep here. The Lord will look after them for us. On our way we can sing a hymn to God.


(The shepherds stand around the church and sing: Eternal God, Boh Predvicnyj.) After singing of the carol, the shepherds kneel one at a time before the church.)


FIRST SHEPHERD: O Jesus, my Savior, grant my prayer. I am but a poor shepherd, but I do have faith in You. Grant, O Lord, that I would remain faithful to You all my life.


SECOND SHEPHERD: O Jesus, my life's Joy, shower me with Your blessings and grant what I pray for. My Lord, my only possession is hope in You. Strengthen that hope always.


THIRD SHEPHERD: O Lord, like the others, I too came here to worship You. My only gift is my love; I offer it to You. Grant that my love for You would ever grow and grow.


FOURTH SHEPHERD: Look down upon me with mercy, 0 Savior. You have brought salvation to men of all ages. Grant, I pray, that I too may be saved.


OLD SHEPHERD: O Lord, your aged servant humbly bows before You. Bless us, O dear Jesus, all men, the entire world. Fill men's hearts with Your love that they would love each other. With this beautiful hymn we offer You glory.


(All shepherds rise and sing: Heaven and Earth, Nebo I Zemla. After the carol, the old shepherd speaks.)


OLD SHEPHERD: My dear fellow Christians, we are deeply grateful for your warm reception. Our sincere 'Thank You' and the best of wishes of this Holy Christmas Season. May the good Lord Jesus, grant you all you need. May He bless you with health and happiness. May these gifts of the Lord be yours for many years.


All sing:

God grant you many years!

God grant you many years!

God grant you many happy years!

In health and happiness,

In health and happiness,

God grant you many happy years!


MNO-HA-JA LI-TA,

BLA-HA-JA LI-TA,

MNOHAJA BLA-HA-JA L'I-TA:


VO ZDRA-VI-JI,

VO SPA-SE-NI-JI

MNO-HA-JA BLA-HA-JA L'I-TA.


ALL SHEPHERDS: Christos Razdajetsja! Christ is born!


ALL: Slavite Jeho! Glorify Him!


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