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Las Posadas at the Border

In the heart of December, a cherished tradition unfolds across Latin America, captivating millions with its profound blend of holiness and family-centered joy. Las Posadas, celebrated from December 16th to Christmas Eve, spans nine days, symbolizing the expectant nine months of Mary’s pregnancy leading to the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Translated as “the inn” in English, La Posada encapsulates the poignant search for shelter by the Holy Family in Bethlehem. This tradition, rich with symbolism, is uniquely mobile, mirroring Mary and Joseph’s journey in search of refuge. It’s a spiritual pilgrimage embraced by families who visit one another’s homes, sharing in the anticipation of the arrival of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

In San Diego, where the United States and Mexico meet amid a formidable barrier, an extraordinary celebration called Posada Sin Fronteras (Shelter without Borders) has thrived for three decades. Gathering at Friendship Park, separated only by a border fence, hundreds of people from both sides joined hands, hearts, and voices to recognize the struggles of migrants and commemorate the Holy Family’s quest for a safe haven. 

Year after year, ‘pinky hugs’ were exchanged through the fence, songs of hope echoed, and prayers were offered for migrants seeking a better life. The reenactment of the Holy Family’s search for shelter became a powerful symbol of finding welcome in each other’s presence. However, the world has changed, and since 2019, Friendship Park, once a symbol of unity, has been closed. 

Despite the physical separation imposed by the closed park, the spirit of La Posada prevailed. This year, as we celebrated from a distance, my heart reached across the divide to friends in the United States, standing near ‘Whiskey 8’ where migrants’ dreams hung in the balance between fences. Though physically apart, our celebration remained poignant, echoing the timeless message of compassion and unity. 

We reflect on the Christian call to welcome the stranger, a message more urgent than ever. In remembering the Holy Family’s journey, we recognize that this call to hospitality extends beyond a season—it’s a perpetual invitation to open our hearts. In welcoming strangers, we might unknowingly entertain angels, and in every act of kindness, we embody the true spirit of Posada. 

Recalling San Diego’s history of opening its arms to unaccompanied migrant minors, we see the Posada spirit alive in acts of compassion. Now, as migrants find themselves detained between border barriers, our collective compassion is summoned once again. The Posada is not merely a tradition to observe but a way of life to embrace. 

Approaching Christmas, with the birth of Jesus symbolizing love and salvation, our hearts stir with empathy. Posada isn’t confined to a set time; it’s a daily commitment to welcome strangers, witnessing the light of gratitude in their eyes and the blessing of their appreciation. 

As we celebrate this timeless tradition, remember the Posada spirit’s enduring relevance. To learn more about EDSD’s Migration Ministry, a beacon of compassion and outreach, visit www.edsd.org/migration-ministry. Join us in embracing the Posada spirit—a celebration that transcends borders and embodies the essence of love, hope, and hospitality.


Category: #Advocacy, #Migration

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One reply to “Las Posadas at the Border

  1. Maria Arroyave | on December 20, 2023

    Thank you! Jesus said in Matthew 25:40. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and of mine, you did for me.”

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