Last night, my husband and I squeezed into the doorway of the home of Mexican immigrants. They are my friends and though we are not related by blood, we have agreed to be family too. Behind a curtain hung in the doorway, we huddled with dozens of their friends. We were the only ones not fluent in Spanish, but they made us feel welcome! In the distance, we heard singing and could see candles coming down the street toward us. When the crowd holding the candles arrived, they sang . . .
En el nombre del cielo os pido posada
In the name of heaven I ask you for shelter
Hiding behind a curtain that covered our doorway, we replied . . .
Yo no puedo abrir, no sea algún tunante
I cannot open the door, you might be a rogue
We were reenacting the journey of Joseph and Mary, who was nine months pregnant with Jesus. They were searching for shelter on the night that Mary would give birth. And they were turned away.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the parallel of my immigrant friends, who are seeking shelter and safety among us. And who are often met with rejection.
Fortunately, Joseph does not give up in asking for shelter for Mary . . .
No seas inhumano, tenos caridad
Do not be inhuman, Show some charity
For more than 400 years, it has been the tradition in Mexico to celebrate Las Posada on the nine days before Christmas. Posada means “lodging” or “accommodation.”
Finally, after much pleading, those of us in the house, recognize the holy couple and give in . . .
¿Eres tu José? ¿Tu esposa es María? Entren, peregrinos, no los conocía.
Is that you Joseph? Your wife is Mary? Enter pilgrims. I didn’t recognize you.
Do you recognize the Marys and Josephs standing at our doors knocking — needing shelter — needing a safe place for their children. We so often stand haughtily before them sending these children of God away or making their lives so very hard. Paying them unfairly. Not making sure they have proper health care and ignoring their special needs in our schools.
It is time we start welcoming these beautiful people – these children of God. Las Posada ends with . . .
Dios pague señores vuestra caridad,
y que os colme el cielo de felicidad.
May the Lord reward you for your charity,
and may the sky be filled with happiness.
Steve and I experienced such a blessing to celebrate the arrival of Mary and Joseph last night. It was a holy experience. One that I will never forget! I thank these beautiful people from the bottom of my heart. You are my sisters and my brothers!
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Heb 13:2)
April describes herself as a Red Letter Christian who writes about scripture and spiritual disciplines. See her latest book, James in the Suburbs: The Disorderly Parable of the Epistle of James. Until Dec 31, 2015, Wipf and Stock Publishers is offering James in the Suburbs at 40% off. Just click and enter NOEL at Checkout. Great for an individual read or group Bible studies! You can follow her blog by clicking on the three stripes in the upper right hand of this page and scrolling down.