Las Posadas – A Latino Christmas Tradition
One of the best parts about working with Destino during the Christmas season is the opportunity to celebrate “Las Posadas”. I am not Hispanic and didn’t grow up with the tradition, but since joining Destino it has become a meaningful part of the holiday season for me.
Las Posadas is Spanish for “the Inns”. It is typically a nine day festival celebrating Mary and Joseph looking for a place in the Inn. It is mostly observed in the Catholic community but Protestants do it as well. While the specifics of the celebration vary by location (typically done in Mexico, Central America, and the Southwestern United States) it usually includes a procession of people caroling as they walk to different “inns” in the community. The group will go to a home and symbolically ask if there is any room for the son of God to be born. After facing rejection at three or four homes they are finally invited in to the last. It is a powerful reminder that the God of the universe couldn’t find a place to be born in Bethlehem. It causes each of the participants to examine their own hearts to see if there is room for Jesus in their life this holiday season.
On our campus we’ve had the privilege of co-programming a Las Posadas event with another Hispanic organization for the past 5 years. We’ll meet at one location on campus and have a 10 minute explanation of Las Posadas where we share the history of the holiday, give the deeper meaning and share the gospel, and then go reenact the holy family looking for shelter.
As a group we then walk to another building on campus singing Christmas carols along the way. We’ll go to different rooms in the building and sing the carol that asks if there is room for us. From inside the room people will carol back that there is no room for us en la posada. We’ll go on to two more rooms before finally arriving at the last. This time after singing our song they respond with a different song that lets us in. After the time of singing we go back to the original meeting location and have hot chocolate, play loteria, have a piñata, give out door prizes, and celebrate Christmas. It’s a lot of fun.
I encourage you to learn more about Las Posadas. Find out if there is already a celebration that will take place on your campus. Attend it and learn more. If there is not going to be one this could be a great way for you to reach out and share the gospel with lots of Hispanic students this Christmas season. I pray that you help many students on your campus to open the doors to their hearts when Jesus comes knocking.
I’ve uploaded a set of resources that will help you if you decide to do a Las Posadas event this Christmas. Included in the file is a powerpoint presentation and a sample gospel presentation for Las Posadas.
Download: Las Posadas Resources
Photo courtesy: txbowen