Today’s post is from Patrick Cabello Hansel, co-pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Minneapolis, MN.

The first Baby Jesus at our church is now 11 years old.  He’s the goalie on our soccer team, which finished runner-up this year.  The year he was baby Jesus, his mom and dad were Maria y José (Mary and Joseph), and his six-year-old sister was an angel.  The now not-so-little boy was born here and holds the rights of U.S. citizenship. The rest of his family members are immigrants, who have not always found the welcome they came looking for.

La Posada is a traditional Mexican and Central American Christmas procession, in which the congregation walks with María and José looking for Posada, or shelter for the baby Jesus.  People walk from house to house singing Christmas carols, often carrying candles.  José sings a song at each house they stop at.  The English version goes something like this:

Lodging, I beg you, in the name of heaven.

My beloved wife is weary, she can’t walk anymore.

We line up the houses ahead of time, and the people who meet us at the door are coached to be mean innkeepers.  They sing back to the congregation something like this:

We don’t take people like you, you’re too poor.

Leave us alone, go away!

So the pilgrims continue walking. Depending on the weather, we visit a few more houses, then end up back at the church, where this time, the pilgrims are welcomed in. We sing carols in candlelight, then onto the fiesta: food, music, piñata.

No matter the cold, there is joy in walking outside in a winter night. There is mystery, there is danger, there is hope that someone will welcome us.

Today, there are more refugees in the world than any time since World War II, and immigrants are demonized across our land.  What if each of those families was Mary and Joseph?  What if each of those children was the Holy Child, the one bringing peace? What if each of us was the shelter, the posada?