Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Today is December 17th and traditionally there is a nine day countdown to Christmas day. Liturgically the O Antiphons are part of this daily countdown. In Mexico where I am from, we gather these 9 days preparing an inn for Jesus in a particular way through Las Posadas, which is a celebration most of our parishes and families will celebrate every evening through these 9 days.
“Las Posadas” is primarily known as a Hispanic Christmas tradition. The word Posada means “shelter” in Spanish. In the tradition, people will re-enact the story of Joseph and Mary on their way to Bethlehem. Neighborhoods across Mexico will get together to celebrate the beautiful tradition. While in the cold, individuals walk through the neighborhoods looking for shelter as they sing.
It begins with a procession in which participants are singing, holding candles, carrying images, and individuals playing the parts of Mary and Joseph, lead the entire procession. This tradition goes deeper than singing and the great food. When individuals take part in this celebration, they are putting themselves in the shoes of Mary and Joseph. It is purposely done outside in the cold to mirror the similarities Mary and Joseph experienced as they were looking for posada. As we get closer to the holidays, let’s reflect on those who don’t have a shelter, the migrants and refugees, who are fleeing and seeking asylum, and those in our country who are experiencing homelessness.
Another important detail of Las Posadas is the arrival of Baby Jesus. Not only do we recognize the hardships of Mary and Joseph, but also we know that despite the difficulties there is a rewarding experience at the end. Las Posadas prepares us to receive Jesus, not only do we welcome him into our homes, but also into our hearts.
Viridiana Arevalo Martinez