Las Posadas – Giving Shelter to Mary, Joseph and Jesus in our Hearts.

oaxaca - christmas posadaOn Monday our Latino brothers and sisters began their celebration of Las Posadas – the feast of “the shelters.”

 In Latino communities, beginning December 16 and continuing the next nine evenings, the “holy pilgrims, “ Mary and Joseph, travel each night from house to house seeking a place to stay on their journey to Bethlehem. The nine-day novena represents the nine months of the pregnancy of Mary carrying Jesus.  In some communities, the pilgrims are played by a couple, with Mary riding a little donkey led by Joseph; in others, statues of Mary and Joseph are carried through the streets.  Those accompanying the holy pilgrims carry lanterns in procession, singing songs and offering prayers as they look for shelter.

 Usually three houses are selected where the Pasadas does not take place.  The participants stand before the door of each house and sing a song asking to enter the house.  A small group stands inside the house telling the outside group that it is impossible to enter.  When they come to the house where the Pasadas will be celebrated, the family proudly makes reparation for the old refusal.  “Come into our humble home, and welcome!” the host family proclaims, “and may the Lord give shelter to my soul when I leave this world.”  The family opens their doors and welcome all who accompany Mary and Joseph to the feast the household has prepared.  Different homes and families are visited each evening until Christmas Eve, when Las Posadas ends with the celebration of Midnight Mass.

 Las Posadas, which began in Mexico in the late 16th century, is a time to open the doors of our hearts to give shelter to the Christ who travels among us in the guise of our families and friends, of the poor and needy, of the forgotten and ignored, the abused and victimized.

 In the hymn Joy to the World, we sing “Let every heart prepare him room.”  The beautiful tradition of Las Posadas challenge all of us to consider just how willing we are “to make room” for the Messiah not only in our hearts but in our homes, our schools, the places where we work and the places where we socialize.  Are we willing to make time in our busy lives for Christ the child or the friend who needs someone to listen?  Are we willing to change our plans in order to be with Christ our spouse, Christ our son or daughter, Christ our mom or dad?  In every day and every season of the year, Mary and Joseph and their Holy Child knock on our door looking for shelter, looking for a place to make their home.  In these final Advent days of waiting, may we have the wisdom and love to welcome them.

 Question – How does the tradition of Las Posadas speak to your heart?  How are you going to spend these final Advent days of waiting?

Photo Credit: Amy Halverson. Some rights reserved.|


December 18th, 2013 |