For Christians, Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter. The Christmas season begins with vigil services on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which follows the Epiphany (Sunday, January 7) marking the arrival of visitors identified in Scripture as magi to the place where Jesus was born.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends as a way to honor God the Father’s gift of his only son to the world. At La Posada these symbols and traditions were also practiced. In addition, we recognize that there are other traditions that are practiced as we showed in our recent annual appeal, “Christmas Around the World.”
On December 21, staff, clients and friends of La Posada participated in a Christmas tradition that is popular within many Latin American countries, particularly in Mexico, and within Hispanic communities across the United States. The tradition Las Posadas is Spanish for lodging,the Inn or accommodation, which in this case commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to find shelter or an inn before the birth of Jesus. The plural is used because in many cases the tradition is practiced over a period of days.
The tradition of giving “posada” to a family in need is not only a re-enactment that is celebrated each year at La Posada, but also it recognizes La Posada’s mission to welcome the stranger. As with Mary and Joseph, our clients’ needs are dire and basic – safe shelter. This tradition resonates with all of our clients and friends, those who are Christian and those who are not. At La Posada, joy is expressed as many cultural and religious traditions are shared and celebrated.