Lectionary resources for worship, faith formation, and service
Growing up, I had the good fortune of being able to take part in a Mexican tradition called Las Posadas. In this tradition, children play Mary and Joseph and travel through a designated neighborhood, searching for shelter.
Time after time, as they knock on a door, they are turned away: “There is no room here.” As they travel, people from the neighborhood follow them, forming a procession. Songs are sung as the group travels together. Finally, Mary and Joseph reach a home where they are welcomed in. The group gathers in the home, and celebrates with singing and sharing food.
To take part in this tradition is to be confronted by a number of questions: Who do I welcome in and who do I send away? When others are in need, what is my response? How much room in my heart do I make available for offering and receiving love?
The Christmas story, as familiar as it is, offers a fresh opportunity each year to reflect on how we respond to the world we are a part of.
Whose shoes do we feel like we walk in? Perhaps we relate to the many innkeepers who felt that they were already stretched to the limit. Or we identify with Joseph and Mary, who were feeling the vulnerability of needing to rely on strangers for help.
Perhaps we feel like the local officials in Bethlehem who must implement orders from the Roman authorities on their own people. Or perhaps we understand Elizabeth, who opened her door to Mary at a time when support and companionship could bring reassurance and hope.
Depending on the path we have journeyed, we may have a sense of identification with many of the characters in the story.
Ultimately, the story is about love. In the midst of the complexity of human circumstances, how do we awaken the potential for love that each of us holds within?
Each person in the Christmas story responds to that question in a different way. No doubt, each of us will do the same. The challenge that arises from this story is to discover how we can create room for more love in our lives, our communities and our world.