Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When I lived in Mexico, one of my favorite Christmas traditions to participate in were Las Posadas (translated literally: the lodgings). Las Posadas consists of nine processions that take place every night before Christmas from December 16th to the 24th. These processions represent Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and their search to find a place to stay. Each night the journey is reenacted. People representing Mary and Joseph and rest of the procession of people go door to door asking for a place to stay until one family finally lets them. When the family lets Mary and Joseph and the procession of people into their house, they all celebrate, worship, eat, and fellowship together. The next night, a different family has the honor of hosting the celebration at their house.

When the procession goes from door to door they sing a song. The song goes along with the reenactment. When the procession arrives at the first house, they sing the first verse and the people inside the house respond to them that there is no room and so the procession goes to the next house and the next house until they arrive at the last house where they are finally let in to the house.

Outside the first house the people sing:

“In the blessed name of heav’n, I beg you, sir, let us in for the night, for my beloved Mary is with child, and is unable to go any further tonight.”

Inside the first house the people sing:

“I don’t have a room for you; please do not stop here, just move on your way. The doors are closed, I’m settled for the night. I will not open for fear that you might be some knave.”

Outside the last house the people sing:

“Please have pity my good friend, she is so weary, so worn and so cold. Her time is near, and soon she will give birth to a dear Child who will be the true Light of the world.”

Inside the last house the people sing:

“You are Joseph of Nazareth? With your beloved about to give birth? Enter, my friends, I failed to recognize One who will bring love and peace and good will to the earth.”

Then the people in the inside of the house welcome in Joseph and Mary and the possession of people by singing:

“Welcome, pilgrims to this shelter, let it peace to you impart. Though a poor and lowly dwelling, it is offered from the heart!”

And together everyone sings in great joy:

“Let us sing with rejoicing, Let our songs our joy convey, for the blessed Holy Family chose to honor us this day!”

This tradition helps us to reflect on how we respond to knocks at our door. How do we respond? How do our churches respond? Do we say that there is no room or do we make room?

As the Hispanic-Latino Missionary working in the Detroit Conference, I have seen the joy, the celebration, and the transformation that can happen when churches make room for pilgrims, for immigrants who are looking for a place of shelter and hospitality, for people who are looking for a loving Christian family because they are far away from their families.

Welcoming new people into our churches and making room for them might mean metaphorically and/or literally that we will have to rearrange the furniture, use some of our fancy plates and silverware, put out more food and coffee, and learn some new recipes and ways of eating, but in the end we will rejoice because we will be blessed with the love of God and the presence of HIS SON our Savior Jesus Christ.

I have created a guide for developing Hispanic/Latino Ministries called Making Room at the Table, which can be found at http://www.detroitconference.org/forms/detail/514. If you would like me to come and speak to your church about Hispanic/Latino Ministries please contact me at sluna@detroitconference.org .

--Sonya Luna, Latino-Hispanic Missionary, Detroit Ann Conf

Sonya Luna is a missionary with the Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church serving through the National Plan for Hispanic and Latino Ministries (NPHLM) in the Detroit Annual Conference.

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer
United Methodist Communications

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