For the third consecutive year, JMP–L’s Community Development Core Committee — with the participation of residents, students from local schools, and the Community Development team — set up an outdoor Christmas manger scene under the Bourj Hammoud bridge (connecting Dekwaneh to Ashrafieh), to create a holiday atmosphere in the community.
The team worked in two stages, on Saturday, December 4 and Monday, December 6, 2010. Similar to past years, the manger scene was set up in the area of the Municipal Public Houses in Bourj Hammoud, near the Municipality Stadium, where JMP–L implements many of its community development projects.
However, this year’s manger scene was characterized by its unique way of preparation and presentation. This year, the manger scene was not prepared only by the JMP–L’s Community Development Program team. The residents were also involved in the initiative. During a fundraising, each family made a symbolic contribution, in order to finance the purchase of the necessary materials and decorative items.
In addition, this year, the Armenian schools of the area played a major role in the preparation of the manger scene:
- Students from the Special Classes of the Center of Armenian Handicapped in Lebanon (CAHL) prepared decorative stars and were present when they were placed on the bridge column surrounding the manger scene.
- Children from the Armenian Evangelical Social Services Center printed verses from the Bible (in Armenian and Arabic) related to the birth of Jesus, and placed it on a decorated poster. They also attended and participated in the set-up of the manger scene.
- Another group of students from the same center grew decorative fresh green grass out of beans placed on wet cotton.
- Students from the Aksor Kasardjian National School decorated the area under the bridge with their handmade craftwork, and promised to visit the site soon.
Finally, the Community Development Core Committee gathered the works of the students, and with the participation of a large number of volunteers, completed the set-up of the manger scene and the surrounding decorations.
Besides its beautiful appearance and presentation manner, this year’s manger scene was special because it was prepared with the joint efforts of various people. Based on the principles of community development, all the residents of the area —irrespective of their age — took ownership of the project and contributed to its successful completion, enhancing the festive atmosphere in the area, beautifying the neighborhood, and spreading joy to all.