The Mystery of Christmas: Las Posadas
December 14, 2010
A cold winter night and the overriding need to seek shelter. Cruel setbacks from those in high places. Persistence in the face of denial. And at last, a humble welcome among the beasts and the straw, a place to rest, and then a rift of Light in the fabric of the world so great that angels appear and spangle the sky with glory.
Las Posadas is an old Spanish Catholic tradition common in Northern New Mexico villages, where the journey of Mary and Joseph and their desperate need to find shelter for the night is reenacted. The event varies a bit from the Biblical account: here in Santa Fe the Devil himself pops up to thwart the weary couple four times, before they finally find the welcome they seek in the back of a humble Inn. As in other villages, the townspeople follow along with candles and song while the Pair circumnavigates the Plaza and faces their Adversary at each corner of the square, to be received at last in the old stables behind the Palace of the Governors (where a bit of Christmas cheer in the form of hot cider and biscochitos is passed around to warm the faithful)
This took place last Sunday evening, under the glowing lights strung in the trees growing in Santa Fe’s old Plaza:
Christmas is a mysterious time. The darkest and coldest time, the time of the Solstice, the ancient point of Turning – and so a time to celebrate in spite of the darkness.
“In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”