An Advent Reflection: Las Posadas
By Saul Lopez, graduate assistant in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Growing up, my Christmas was always a fusion of two traditions. In my house we had a dancing Santa Claus next to a Baby Jesus. We ate the 24th and rested the 25th. But leading to the big day, there was a celebration that was never left out, Las Posadas.
Las Posadas is the name of a religious festivity that takes place every December and forms part of the Hispanic Christmas tradition. The word posada translates to “dwelling” or “lodging”. Celebrated in Mexico and in Spanish speaking segments of the United States, Las Posadas celebrate Joseph and Mary’s journey from Bethlehem to Nazareth in search of a place for Baby Jesus to be born.
A main component of this celebration is asking for a posada, a place to rest, which is done via singing. To remember the journey of Mary and Joseph, a group of people gather and break off into two groups: the travelers seeking posada and the “host family” inside the house. In a back and forth, the outside group asks to be let in, while the “host family” refuses entry at first. Both sides exchange songs, until the “travelers” convince the “host family” to let them inside. After this, the “host” offers a dinner that typically includes tamales, pozole and other traditional Mexican dishes.
In my case, I always loved being outside, asking to be let in. Partly because I loved guessing what we’d eat for dinner. But most importantly, I loved spending time with my aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings over a homecooked meal. For me, Las Posadas were about family and embracing every minute with them. It was about finding a place to rest amid life’s hecticness - to slow down and appreciate the people in my life. And as I look back at my time at Marquette, I think about all the new friends, colleagues, and students I’ve met - people who have “invited me in,” and I can’t help but be grateful.
Now, as I reflect about this beautiful tradition, I ask myself, “Am I letting love truly enter my dwelling place?” Sometimes, just like the “host family” in Las Posadas, it is easy to deny the “outsiders” among us. Let us not forget those who, to this day, are asking for a resting place in our hearts and in our home.
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