Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Las Posadas: Is there room at the inn?

This week we started Las Posadas, an advent tradition I am growing to love and wish we had back home!  

All the children come together to sing, pray and walk around with Joseph and Mary carried on their shoulders.  They are looking for a place to stay.  

We do this daily, going to a different casa each time.  When we finally arrive at the one assigned for the day, we stand outside the door and sing back and forth with the people inside, asking for room in their home.  After what seems to be a long debate, we are allowed inside.  

Once the doors open, it can take a moment for your eyes to adjust to the bright lights, balloons, streamers and pre-nativity displays set up inside.  

We enter and listen to a small presentation of the advent story: the angel appearing to Mary or Joseph taking his wife and fleeing after seeing the angel in his dream.  Then the house invites us to share in a refa (snack) or meal.  Last night we had tamales and the night before that was sweet breads. Yum!

This has to be one of the most meaningful and beautiful advent traditions I have come across.  As we walk and pray, especially in the dark with candles, it is so easy to remember Mary and Joseph journeying alone to Bethlehem.  And when it is cold, and windy, and dark, you can so easily identify with how brave they really were as they went on their way.  

The light from inside the house draws you closer and as you stand on the threshold with Mary, Joseph and the unborn babe, asking entrance, you're reminded powerfully how Christ asks entrance into our hearts as well.  

My favorite night so far was a windy one.  We walked with candles and one of the little boys came up and grabbed my hand, asking me to hold his candle because he was scared of the flame.  We walked the entire way, hand in hand, singing our carols and looking for a place that would take us in.  

(Pic of people waiting inside)

My heart burns sometimes, because even though I understand the foundation's precepts about not adopting out (this is a part of Padre Wasson's philosophy from 60 years ago and now reinforced by Guatemalan law)...many times I wish I could bring these kids back with me!  But God has a place for them.  And God has a place for me.  And He is asking entrance into our hearts, because He has a place with us as well.  

¡Oh ven!, ¡Oh ven, Emanuel!

Libra al cautivo Israel,

Que sufre desterrado aquí,

Y espera al Hijo de David.

¡Alégrate, oh Israel!

Vendrá, ya viene Emanuel.

¡Oh ven, Tú, Vara de Isaí!

Redime al pueblo infeliz

Del poderío infernal

Y danos vida celestial.

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