The First Sunday of Advent – Daniel Vigilante
Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
Growing up in New Jersey, I had never heard of the Mexican Christmas tradition called Las Posadas, which means in Spanish, “The Inns,” and represents the inn from the Nativity story. It wasn’t until my first call out of seminary – to a congregation in Southern California – that I learned about Las Posadas.
Each night, for the nine nights leading up to Christmas Eve (representing the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy), townsfolk in villages across Mexico re-enact the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. A procession of people, led by an “angel” holding a candle and children carrying poinsettias, knocks on the doors of homes, asking if there is room inside for the Christ-child to be born. Each night, there’s music, food, prayers, piñatas, and even fireworks. I’ve come to love this special way of celebrating the days leading up to Christmas – and the way it draws us into that question – is there room in your home for the Christ-child to be born?
Long before the days of Las Posadas (which dates back over 400 years!) and even long before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s house would be established on the highest of mountains and that, “all the nations shall stream into it.” Isaiah says that people will go up the mountain of the Lord where God, “will teach us his ways… that we may walk in his paths.” But… two verses later, Isaiah refers to the house of the Lord, not as a mountain or even a place at all, but as a people. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!”
As we think about our Advent theme, Home for the Holidays, I wonder if the idea of home isn’t so much about a place, but about the people who make it special. And if there is room among us for the Christ-child to be born yet again.
Why not add some international flair to your Advent? Do a Google search to learn more about the tradition of Las Posadas… or even better, search “Las Posadas” on YouTube and watch a video re-enactment of the journey of Mary and Joseph. Perhaps you could even incorporate a star-shaped piñata into your Christmas Eve celebrations!
Midweek Reading and Prayer
Reading: Psalm 122:1-9
Loving God, we pray for all those who will travel today to school, or work, or play; for those who will journey home to visit families and friends at Christmas; for those who are seeking your will for their lives.
As we all travel through life, unite us as your people – your house – and help us to draw comfort and strength from one another as we grow in grace and love. Through Jesus, the Christ-child, Amen.