Another fabulous holiday celebration in La Misión last night!
Erin and a team of elves under the as-always-brilliant direction of Bev, brought the community together to celebrate the winter holidays-Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice.
Cathy & Anna served Rosa’s Champurado as everyone arrived. The Kirchhoff’s barn was transformed with Doug’s artful placement of lights and by Marylane’s live nativity. Christmas music from Marla, Danny, Gene, Austin, Doug started things off and punctuated the program along with some fun sing-alogns. Candles of joy, hope, peace, & love were lit by different groups from the community, each providing their own heartfelt interpretation in Spanish and English. Erin’s ‘Impromptu Posada’ story brought it all together and with the final candle and passing of the light, everyone filed out to contribute their lit candle to Cesar’s bonfire.
an impromptu posada (the miracle of the 8 tables)
It was a bit less ‘no room in the in’ and a bit more ‘no mesas (tables) in the storage area’ – not, perhaps, as poetic, but an unintentional modern day posada nonetheless…
A ‘Posada’ or really “Las Posadas” is more typically a reenactment of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay – knocking on doors, being told there is ‘no room in the inn’ (so to speak) until they finally find lodging (posada) and are invited in.
So, when Jose (which is, obviously, his name, but which is also how the name Joseph is translated into Spanish) arrived at the barn where we were setting up for our annual La Misión Holiday Celebration – yes, we hold it in a barn, and no, the irony is not lost – and said that the tables, tables we need for sharing the convivio (potluck) after the service, were not in the usual location, we began to wonder where they might be found.
Wondering turned to suspecting, as Bev realized said tables had probably been taken and used at the foodbank. So, Jose, Vita and I loaded into Jose’s truck and headed over to the foodbank. Looking in the windows Jose made the pronouncement – we are not taking these tables – to which I answered of course we are. Until, of course, I too looked in the window. The tables, 7 of the 8, were piled high with carefully folded clothes, laid out as if already sorted and ready for some distribution.
“Just move the stuff,” Bev had instructed, when she sent us off on our table posada. “Um, Bev, that’s not gonna happen,” I told her over the phone as she said she’d be right over. I’d list her response, when she saw the room, and the tables, but that might get this post flagged for inappropriate language…
So we went upstairs to talk to Estela, who was at home. “Do you have any tables?” Vita began to sing the song for Las Posadas, the song of Mary and Joseph – or in this case, Vita, Jose and Erin.
We got one from Estela as we took the one unused table from the foodbank. While we were there Estela also lent us 40 chairs, to go with the 50 we’ve already got. Meanwhile, I called Cindi on her cell phone – “I have a couple of tables we can use,” she answered.
As we drove back, along the mud road, in what had suddenly become a downpour, I asked Jose and Vita if their lives were not much easier before all these crazy ‘strangers’ entered into them. Laughing they answered something along the lines of, this craziness filled with strangers has become our life.
Which, it seems to me, is exactly the message of the Posada, of Navidad, Christmas…for we are both the strangers that go looking for lodging, or tables, or a place to lay our weary head or a seat at the table, and we too are the ones who have the opportunity to open the doors of our lives, our communities, our hearts, and our families to that which seeks to be born to us this day…God with us, amongst us – even here, even now.
An addendum: I shared the above message with those gathered last night for our celebration – a celebration of Christmas/Navidad of course, but also of Hanukkah, the festival of lights and the miracle of the oil that was only enough for burning the lamps for one day, but lasted for all eight days.
As we were passing the light, Ron chanted for us, in Hebrew, the blessing of the light – and, was quick to point out, that the miracle had come full circle – from the miracle of the 8 days to the miracle of the 8 tables…may it be so!