Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

La Posada – the Mexican Christmas celebration – remembers how Mary and Joseph could not find a place in Bethlehem. The drama is accompanied by all manner of delicious foods, pinatas and song.

At the culmination of La Posada party goers stand outside the home where the party has been prepared. They are dressed in costumes and two persons are elected to play the parts of Joseph and Mary. Those inside the house represent ones inside the inn including the Innkeeper. They sing back and forth to one another:

Holy Family: In the name of heaven, I ask you for shelter for my beloved wife can go no farther.

Innkeeper: This is not an inn, get on with you. I cannot open the door, you might be a rogue.

Holy Family: Do not be inhuman, show some charity and God in heaven with reward you.

Innkeeper: You may go now and don’t bother us anymore, because if I get angry I will beat you.

Holy Family: We are worn out, all the way from Nazareth. I am a carpenter named Joseph.

Innkeeper: Never mind your name, let me sleep. I’ve already told you, we won’t open the door.

Holy Family: We request lodging, dear innkeeper, for only one night, for the Queen of Heaven.

Innkeeper: If she is a queen who is asking, why is it that she is out at night, wandering so alone?

Holy Family: My wife is Mary, she is the Queen of Heaven, she will be the mother to the Divine Word.

Innkeeper: Is that you Joseph? Your wife is Mary? Enter pilgrims, I didn’t recognize you.

Holy Family: May the Lord reward you for your charity and may heaven fill you will happiness.

Innkeeper: Blessed is the home harboring on this day, the pure virgin, the beautiful Mary.

At this point the door is opened and those outside enter as all sing:

Enter holy pilgrims, pilgrims, receive this corner, not of this dwelling, but of my heart. Tonight is for happiness, for pleasure and rejoicing, for tonight we will give lodging to the Mother of God the Son.

We might find this holy family differently today, in different garb and circumstance. We might call them migrants, refugees, displaced persons or the caravan. They come to us the same, sojourning out of desperation and carrying only hope. They sing at our door. And what do we sing back?

Let me tell you something: We can talk all we want about bringing Christmas back and playing carols in shopping malls. We can wage wars over placing a Christmas creche on the courthouse lawn. But if we don’t notice that Mary, Joseph and Jesus are travelling our way, if we miss La Posada, if we do not discern just who the singers are on our doorstep, then all the rest means absolutely nothing.

Don’t dare light a Christmas candle while they still huddle outside the door, or worse rip the family apart and separate it after their long journey. Because if we do, it is not Christmas we keep but something else altogether.

Not far enough down

Posted: December 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

The preeminent theological idea of the nativity, the Christmas season, is incarnation; God enfleshed. The incarnation insists that God becomes flesh, engages and intertwines with the world. For those who have a very transcendent understanding of the divine – a God who is radically other, set apart from creation – this becomes problematic. How can God retain this “otherness” and still cozy up to the created order?

For those of us who have an immanent God, one present in and woven in the fabric of the world, this is not a problem. In fact, it is just the opposite, a solution; the incarnation is the theological answer of how God’s mystery manifests in the world. For one who believes God is in all things the notion that God becomes flesh is not only part of Christology, the way Jesus relates to both God and world; it describes one’s cosmology or the way the universe is itself. God is already incarnated in the world – how else? The Word becomes flesh in Jesus and we realize that is the way God works all the time.

I have to say that this is the season that makes huge theological sense and is, for that reason, one of the most powerful. There is no distance between, say, the creator of the universe and the primal energy present in Mary’s womb, bringing forth a distinct eruption in the continuum of space and time. Of course God is there. How else? What else?

The more we embrace the omnipresent God the more ideas like incarnation will strike a chord. They do with me. And what a great starting place. We start with God enfolding everything and bringing forth everything, even erupting in a life like Jesus, a life born out nowhere eventually overflowing into the everywhere. I love that.

That’s what the Christmas story creates – not an historical explanation, but a theological expression of the way God reveals – in the flesh, baby. In the baby flesh. In the baby. In.